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Consumer Products

United Kingdom

Today’s consumer is well-informed, connected and global, demanding more choice, faster gratification and a direct relationship with brands. For manufacturers and retailers alike, success in the sector means driving new innovations, as well as facing the myriad challenges that come with changing regulatory frameworks, competitive pressures, new technologies, omni-channel, and engaging in emerging markets.

You need a legal adviser that understands the unique challenges of your world. Whether you operate in FMCG, Retail, Fashion & Luxury or Household Goods, we have over 60 specialised advisors in the UK alone with a deep understanding of the legal, commercial and regulatory issues that govern the sector and who are ready to help you deliver your strategic ambitions.

We advise on both contentious and non-contentious issues including: M&A; joint ventures; finance; brand protection and IP strategies; infrastructure and digital transformation; procurement, logistics and fulfilment; supply chain transformation; franchising; e-commerce; data protection; merchandising and celebrity endorsements; real estate; competition and antitrust; commercial contracts; regulatory; employment; labelling; product liability; product recall; marketing and advertising, anti-bribery and corruption; and tax.

Our expertise is reflected in the clients who trust us with their most sensitive and strategic matters. We advise many of the top FMCG companies including Nestle, Unilever, and Finsbury Foods. Our market leading retail and e-commerce practice enables us to represent high street and online retailers such as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Sports Direct and NET-A-PORTER.COM. We also work for high street fashion clients such as Diesel, Barbour, White Stuff, and Timberland and luxury brands including Stella McCartney and Richemont (owners of Mont Blanc, Cartier and Chloé).

  • Nestlé on its application to register the shape of a Kit Kat as a UK and EU-TM and its opposition by Cadbury/Mondelez.
  • Marks & Spencer on commercial contracts for many years. Key projects include assisting M&S to rationalise its top IT suppliers and enhance its IT infrastructure; improve its supply chain process; and negotiate endorsement agreements with some of the celebrities M&S appoints.
  • Yoox Net-A-Porter Group S.p.A. (YNAP), the world’s leading online luxury fashion retailer, on the English law aspects of its joint venture with Symphony Investments to create the Middle East’s undisputed leader for online luxury retail
  • Toys ‘R’ Us on their retail property work for over 20 years including advising in relation to the lease of their new Maidenhead office, and the leasing of various retail premises, including Stevenage, Carlisle and four new pop-up stores.
  • Kettle Foods on registering and enforcing its brands globally, encompassing over 200 trade marks in 90 countries.
  • Pepe Jeans/Hackett on the management of its global trade mark portfolio in over 140 countries.
  • Dune on the refinancing of its debt including the provision of substantially increased facilities to assist in its development.
  • Delhaize on the acquisition of a leading food retail group in Serbia, operating more than 450 stores across South-eastern Europe, for EUR 932m.
  • J. Barbour & Sons Ltd on launching the Barbour brand into China, involving franchising, licensing and distribution elements, on the launch of the Barbour fragrance and related trade mark matters.
  • CBPE Capital LLP on the acquisition of Sofa.com, the cutting-edge online furniture retailer.
  • A leading global food manufacturer on UK and EU legislation in relation to a range of product claims including ‘pure’, ‘natural’, ‘artisan’ and ‘traditional’.
  • A major online retailer on a range of IP/IT and commercial issues including distance selling and e-commerce, consumer protection, parallel trade and many other issues.
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    Fashion & Luxury

    Today’s fashion and luxury brands face intense pressures, from shifting global demand patterns to disruptive new technologies. The physical and online worlds are blurring, forcing brands to rethink retail portfolios and digitise their in-store experiences. All the while companies must tackle the issues of counterfeit goods, maintaining brand reputation, and managing the bottom-line.

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    Food & Drink

    Food and drink companies operate in challenging times. Shifts in the grocery market are placing intense pressure on margins, compliance and regulatory burdens are growing, and there is mounting emphasis on supply chain transparency. Meanwhile, public interest in diet and health, animal welfare, and sustainability, as well as complex rules on nutrition and functional food claims, all form part of a complex landscape that food and drinks companies must navigate in order to run their businesses successfully.

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    Health & Beauty

    Today’s health and beauty companies face intense challenges and competition that require that managers have access to the right legal advice. Failure to factor in changes to the competition regime, whether in the UK, EU, or globally, can seriously damage a company’s growth plans.

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    Household

    Producers of household goods face a range of commercial and legal challenges, as well as intense and increasing competition. Companies need to do what they can to protect innovative concepts and designs, and also to protect the brand, both in terms of their own and competitors’ advertising claims, and more generally in the media. A new era of connected smart devices is also driving significant new opportunities for the industry, but raises new challenges as companies race to develop or acquire IP and grapple with the data protection implications of the Internet of Things.

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    Manufacturing

    The manufacturing industry is experiencing a period of significant transformation as global economic, social, regulatory and technological trends fundamentally change how and where goods are produced and sold. Manufacturers are under pressure to deliver new innovations faster, with greater customisation, all whilst maintaining profitability and reducing risk.

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    Retail

    The retail sector in the UK and internationally faces unprecedented disruption. Retailers must adapt rapidly as the lines blur between the high street and online retails, as the requirements of omnichannel place pressure on supply chains, and as consumer behaviours continue to change.

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    Highlights of our experience in Consumer Products...
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