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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).

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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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    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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    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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    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 in...
    Law-Now: Con­sumer Products
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    Stuart MacLean
    4 December 2017
    Ker­nel: Winter Edi­tion
    The Scot­land Food and Drink Bul­let­in
    31 Jan 18
    Spot­light Series: GDPR - what the Food & Drink sec­tor...
    How short-lived bar­gains mean buy­ing cheap can prove dear
    Wheth­er you like them or loathe them, the Christ­mas-themed re­tail sales events of Black Fri­day and Cy­ber Monday look to be here to stay. This year's blitz kicks off again on Fri­day when re­tail­ers will of­fer time-lim­ited bar­gains in an.
    Gambling Com­mis­sion in­vest­ig­ates on­line casi­nos
    The UK Gambling Com­mis­sion (the “Com­mis­sion”) an­nounced last week that it has writ­ten to all on­line casino op­er­at­ors which it reg­u­lates rais­ing con­cerns about the op­er­at­ors’ ap­proach to anti-money laun­der­ing and so­cial re­spons­ib­il­ity.
    1 May 2017
    CMS, Nabarro and Olswang com­plete largest ever mer­ger...
    Cre­at­ing a new fu­ture-fa­cing firm
    The rise of Vir­tu­al Real­ity in re­tail
    Vir­tu­al Real­ity (VR) has been on the re­tail in­dustry's radar for the last few years, but with the in­tro­duc­tion of more af­ford­able head­sets such as Google Card­board, re­tail­ers are start­ing to take more no­tice.
    28 Mar 18
    Spot­light Series: Health, Food, Safety and Hy­giene...
    New Year, New Nov­el Foods Re­gime
    The fu­ture is bright for en­tre­pren­eurs and small busi­nesses but se­cur­ing reg­u­lat­ory ap­prov­al can cast a shad­ow. If you are de­vel­op­ing a new product and it’s go­ing well, when should you seek ap­prov­al? Do you in­vest be­fore you know you have a suc­cess­ful product.
    11 January 2017
    Food and bever­age
    The "dir­ect to con­sumer" mod­el
    You may have heard of brands selling "dir­ect to con­sumer" - but what does this mean ex­actly, and what are the be­ne­fits and pit­falls for a brand? In es­sence, selling dir­ect to con­sumer (DTC) is where brands en­gage dir­ectly with.
    UK Su­preme Court dis­misses ap­peal against min­im­um pri­cing for al­co­hol...
    This morn­ing, the UK Su­preme Court handed down its judg­ment in the ap­peal brought by the Scotch Whisky As­so­ci­ation, spir­its EUROPE and CEEV against the Scot­tish Min­is­ters, re­gard­ing their plans to in­tro­duce min­im­um pri­cing for al­co­hol in Scot­land.
    11 January 2017
    Con­sumer products and re­tail dis­putes and in­vest­ig­a­tions
    What can on­line re­tail­ers do to lim­it bas­ket aban­don­ment?
    A re­cent study con­duc­ted by Visa has re­vealed that 72% of UK on­line shop­pers aban­don their shop­ping bas­ket on re­tail­er web­sites and apps. En­coun­ter­ing a dif­fi­cult or slow pay­ment pro­cess and con­cerns over on­line se­cur­ity are key reas­ons for this.
    De­cision time: UK Su­preme Court due to rule on Min­im­um Pri­cing for...
    Earli­er this year, the UK Su­preme Court heard the much an­ti­cip­ated ap­peal brought by the Scotch Whisky As­so­ci­ation, spir­it­sEUROPE and CEEV against the Scot­tish Min­is­ters, re­gard­ing their plans to in­tro­duce min­im­um pri­cing for al­co­hol in Scot­land.
    13 December 2016
    CMS, Nabarro and Olswang con­firm Prac­tice and Sec­tor...
    Re­du­cing waste the in­nov­at­ive way
    WRAP (the UK's lead­ing sus­tain­ab­il­ity char­ity) es­tim­ates that around one third of food (and any ac­com­pa­ny­ing pack­aging) is wasted. This cre­ates a massive en­vir­on­ment­al bur­den both in terms of wasted re­sources and un­ne­ces­sary land­fill.
    RICS Con­sulta­tion on new reg­u­la­tion for Com­mer­cial Ser­vice Charge
    On 25 Oc­to­ber, the RICS launched a Con­sulta­tion on a new RICS draft pro­fes­sion­al state­ment on Ser­vice Charges in Com­mer­cial Prop­erty. Com­ments on the Con­sulta­tion must be re­ceived by the RICS by 6 Decem­ber 2017.
    Chris Watson
    CMS con­fer­ence: In­ter­ven­tion, In­nov­a­tion and Dis­rup­tion...