Addleshaw Goddard's retail and consumer team gains its reputation from high-end strategic work but is also adept at handling the full suite of business-as-usual issues. The team, which is jointly headed by M&A specialist Andrew Rosling and contentious expert Mark Molyneux, acts for a wide-ranging portfolio of clients from across the retail and consumer spectrum, from FTSE 100 businesses to medium-sized enterprises, spanning high-street retailers, fast-moving consumer goods companies and household brands. With the London office working closely with the firm’s Leeds and Manchester hubs, the department has shone in high-value corporate transactions, real estate deals and complex contentious work. Stationed in Leeds, James Tatro routinely advises food and drink manufacturers and brand owners on strategic investments, acquisitions and disposals, while in London, Rona Bar-Isaac is well-versed in competition law as it applies to retailers.
Retail and consumer in London
Andrew Rosling; Mark Molyneux
Other key lawyers:
James Tatro; Rona Bar-Isacc
‘Their client base within fast-moving consumer goods and retail sectors is strong, and this means the knowledge within the teams of sector-specific issues is very good, and they bring this to life well in their work. They also share info well so the teams feel well prepared on sector-specific matters, even if not a part of the retail & consumer practice. Their sector-specific update notes are helpful and they run in-house legal seminars for people within the sector which are a great way to share experiences and learn from other similar businesses.’
‘Andrew Rosling is particularly strong in this area, with genuine, deep and differentiated knowledge of the sector.’
Boohoo (including boohoo.com, PrettyLittleThing, Nasty Gal, MissPap, boohoo MAN)
The Co-operative Group
- Advising Ted Baker on the sale of its headquarters, the Ugly Brown Building in Kings Cross, NW1, to British Airways Pension Trustees for £78.75m.
- Advised Carphone Warehouse, which is suing Telefonica (O2), claiming the mobile network operator caused it to suffer a £26m loss of profits/liquidated damages by breaching O2’s obligations in relation to Carphone Warehouse’s marketing of O2 products.
- Advising Kraft Heinz, one of the largest food and beverage businesses in the world, on a range of matters, including issues relating to the management of their business through the Covid-19 pandemic.
With 'a particularly good overview of the issues impacting the industry', the retail and consumer group at CMS is retained by an eye-catching assortment of household retail companies and giant international brands, which it assists on big-ticket strategic issues that cascade down the entire value chain. Notably, this includes store launches and other corporate deals, procurements and cross-departmental litigations. The group excels in property-related mandates, digitalisation projects, environment and sustainability issues, brand protection work, and consumer law issues. The sector group is spearheaded by IP specialist Tom Scourfield and corporate partner Katie Nagy de Nagybaczon. Elsewhere in the department, Matthew Bennett has earned a laudable reputation for advising large retailers on strategic commercial arrangements and partnerships, Helen Johnson is vastly experienced in M&A, while M&A partner Louise Wallace is frequently sought out by consumer product clients in relation to bet-the-company issues.
Tom Scourfield; Katie Nagy de Nagybaczon
Other key lawyers:
Helen Johnson; Matthew Bennett; Louise Wallace
‘Knowledgeable and approachable team, providing pragmatic, commercial advice.’
‘Tom Scourfield is very responsive, pragmatic and willing to provide practical risk-based advice.’
‘The team appointed to our case is very engaged and service-oriented. Questions are explained in detail which is particularly helpful for someone not familiar with the judicial system in the UK.’
‘I think they have a particularly good overview of the issues impacting the industry.‘
‘Louise Wallace has great industry knowledge and is client-focused. Tom Scourfield is an excellent IP lawyer who provides pragmatic commercial advice.‘
Sainsbury’s (including Argos / Habitat)
Marks & Spencer
Associated British Foods / Primark
Coca-Cola European Partners
- Advises Sainsbury’s, including Argos and Habitat, on the full spectrum of tenant portfolio work and real estate litigation.
- Advises SharkNinja, the US home appliances giant, on all aspects of its advertising and marketing in the UK and in relation to European expansion.
- Advised Moss Bros Group plc, the LSE Main Market listed formal menswear specialists, on its takeover by Brigadier Acquisition Company, owners of Crew Clothing.
The ‘very knowledgeable and cohesive’ retail and consumer group at Dentons fields experienced partners from a wide range of legal disciplines, with substantial track records in the sector. Derek McCombe, in Glasgow, heads the UK team, which is particularly active in complex corporate and real estate deals and leverages the firm’s online portal, Legal Front Door, to provide clients with a single point of access to the wider firm’s legal services and specialists. The department – which advises retailers, brands, restaurants, landlords and franchises – also handles restructurings, franchising, cybersecurity, dispute resolution and employment matters. The department is a trusted legal adviser to Sainsbury’s – including Argos – across its full legal portfolio, with Scott Singer playing a key role for the sumermarket giant. Real estate litigator Bryan Johnston and Tristan Jonckheer, whose practice revolves around technology, outsourcing and commercial contract matters, are other names to note.
Other key lawyers:
Scott Singer; Bryan Johnston; Martin Fanning; Tristan Jonckheer
‘Very knowledgeable and cohesive team covering all aspects of a client’s requirements’
‘The team I work with, including Derek McCombe, stand out for giving exceptional knowledge, time and effort’
John Lewis Partnership (including Waitrose)
Sainsbury’s (including Sainsbury’s Bank and Argos)
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group
Avis Budget Group
Sports Direct / Frasers Group
Edrington Distillers Limited
American Eagle Outfitters
- Advise Sainsbury’s (including Argos) across numerous specialisms, including commercial contracts, technology and outsourcing, real estate, construction and high-value dispute resolution cases.
- Acted for longstanding client Sports Direct in relation to its very high-profile acquisition of House of Fraser.
- Assisted Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) Group with a significant debt restructure, a strategically planned and executed insolvency of certain trading companies, followed by the acquisition of key brands into a newly formed group.
Noted for its vast global footprint and its close relationships with key industry bodies, DLA Piper places a premium on major strategic and business-critical transactions with multi-jurisdictional dimensions. The full-service, ‘extremely collaborative’ team’s offering encompasses the full gamut of legal services, including M&A, commercial issues, litigation, real estate and IP. Brands expert Ruth Hoy sits as the international head of the retail group, international supply chain specialist Mark Dewar is responsible for leading the international consumer goods practice, Birmingham-based Noel Haywood steers the global consumer goods, food and retail team, while ‘excellent technical lawyer’ Chloe Forster fronts the group’s UK consumer goods, food and retail subgroup. Fintech expert Sophie Lessar joined from Simmons & Simmons in June 2020, while restructuring lawyer James Davison, who has a sizable retail sector client base, joined from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP a month later.
Ruth Hoy; Mark Dewar; Noel Haywood; Chloe Forster
Other key lawyers:
‘Client friendly, commercial, pragmatic, easy to work with and tech-forward. Excellent offerings for in-house training, great accessible and interactive guides for complex areas of law.’
‘As well as being an excellent technical lawyer, Chloe Forster is always accessible and is a great link to the rest of the firm. Her team has worked with us on a virtual secondment basis so they really understand our business. I’ve been working with Chloe since she was an associate at DLA and I was very pleased to see her promoted to partnership. It gives me confidence that DLA is investing in the right people.’
‘I find the people I work with at DLA extremely collaborative. In particular, I rely on DLA heavily in foreign markets where our in-house team doesn’t have a presence.’
‘DLA Piper’s commitment to helping emerging fashion businesses achieve tangible results is truly valued.’
‘Ruth Hoy and Chloe Forster have been our key contacts at DLA Piper for years. They genuinely care for our industry and the best quality in them is their continued dedication to helping emerging businesses which, otherwise, would hardly have the means or tools to look into the legal side of running a business.’
H & M Hennes & Mauritz B.V. & Co. KG
The Hut Group Limited
C & J Clark International Limited
PRADA Germany GmbH
Levi Strauss & Co.
The Carphone Warehouse Ltd
Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited
Lloyds Pharmacy Limited
Deckers Outdoor Corporation
LVMH Fashion Group France SNC
AO World plc
The Department for Business Enterprise Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Office of Product Safety and Standards (OPSS)
Specialized Bicycle Components Inc,
- Advised Sisters Food Group on the sale of part of Fox’s Biscuits to Ferrero Group.
- Advises the Hermès group on its intellectual property matters in the UK, including enforcement against various infringers of Hermès’ rights in its luxury handbags, scarves and other products.
- Acted for partners of Deloitte LLP as nominees and supervisors of the CVA for the Clarks Group.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP notably services household brands drawn from across the food, retail, leisure and consumer goods segments of the market. Housed in the firm’s Birmingham office, James Batham and Paul Moorcroft take the lead on the retail and leisure and consumer sub-groups respectively, while Amanda Partland oversees the food and beverage practice from Leeds. Key areas of strength for the group include large corporate deals, high-value real estate transactions, outsourcing mandates. disputes, commercial strategy and competition law issues. As one of the firm’s five priority sectors, the team's global experience helps it deliver in priority areas for the sector, such as technology, data privacy and automation, payments, supply chain and ESG issues.
James Batham; Paul Moorcroft
Other key lawyers:
‘Well resourced and have numerous experts in their field. They also have their finger on the pulse of the market and live and breathe it day in day out.’
‘Very commercial and you never feel you are talking to a lawyer – you feel like you are talking to a business partner. They are all very useful sounding boards.’
Frasers (formally known as Sports Direct, including HoF)
Kering (including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen)
Next (including Lipsy)
Wm Morrison Supermarkets
Osborne Clarke LLP's retail and consumer department represents one of the firm's eight sector focus areas and attracts high-profile clients in part because of the firm's technology credentials. With particular expertise in digitalisation and digital transformation, the team also works across capital markets work, regulatory issues, corporate transactions, IT projects, procurements, logistics and supply chain transactions. Dolf Darnton, who focuses on real estate projects, leads the team from Bristol, where Will Robertson frequently assists retailers and brands with complex digital transformation projects. Meanwhile, in London, Katie Vickery stands out for her advice in food law, product safety, health and safety and consumer protection issues, while Edward Persse specialises in domestic and international M&A, also demonstrating expertise in associated brand, data, IP, regulatory and supply chain factors.
Other key lawyers:
Will Robertson; Katie Vickery; Edward Persse
Administrators of Edinburgh Woollen Mill Limited
Bestway Wholesale (owner of Costcutter, Kwiksave, Wine Rack and other retail brands)
FRP Advisory Trading Limited in respect of Peacocks Stores Limited (in administration)
Marks & Spencer
Hunter Boot company
- Advised Bestway Wholesale on its acquisition of Costcutter Supermarkets Group from Bibby Line Group.
- Advised the proposed administers of Edinburgh Woollen Mill, together with various other companies in the EWM group, on their appointment as administrators and on the group’s complex security position.
- Advised online marketplace, Notonthehighstreet and its management team on the multi-million pound sale of the company to growth equity firm Great Hill Partners.
Balancing ‘technical knowledge and approachability’, RPC’s team is recognised as 'outstanding IP specialists with an exceptional knowledge of the retail industry'. Jointly headed by Jeremy Drew and Karen Hendy, the group represents a core pillar of the firm’s overall sector offering, with clients benefiting from an end-to-end approach that encompasses both brick-and-mortar and digital-focused projects. Ciara Cullen, who ‘stands out for being a true business partner’, leads the food and drink retail group alongside Ben Mark, Oliver Bray co-leads the digital retail stream, while Elizabeth Alibhai is noted for advising retailers, corporate investors, property companies and funds on a broad range of real estate matters. Commercial lawyer Tom Purton arrived from Travers Smith LLP as a senior partner in January 2021, bolstering the firm’s commercial contracts credentials.
Jeremy Drew; Karen Hendy
Other key lawyers:
Ciara Cullen; Oliver Bray; Ben Mark; Elizabeth Alibhai; Henry Priestley
‘I believe the balance between technical knowledge and approachability is what makes RPC unique. I am 100% confident when instructing the RPC team that I will receive sound commercial legal advice whilst also receiving top-tier client service. Getting this balance is often difficult and therefore the fact this has been achieved is what makes the RPC team unique.’
‘The full RPC team are a very friendly and approachable team. The level of service is always appreciated and remembered when it comes to re-instructing.’
‘Efficient and collaborative approach. Willing to give opinions rather than just stating facts like many peers.’
‘A superb team of lawyers, experts in the advertising and marketing sector. A close-knit unit, with robust legal expertise combined with deep industry knowledge. Always happy to go above and beyond to help with any request.’
‘Oliver Bray goes from strength to strength. We were delighted to hear of his promotion to senior partner this year. Incredibly well deserved. We would be lost without him.’
‘Ciara Cullen stands out for being a true business partner. Ciara coordinates the team to ensure the very best client experience, ensuring accurate timely advice on a diverse range of queries. An expert in her field, we have come to rely on Ciara and her team as an extension of the business.’
‘Highly competent, helpful and responsive. Very client-focused and collaborative mindset.’
‘Outstanding IP specialists with an exceptional knowledge of the retail industry.’
Owners of Globe-Trotter (ICBM Holdings)
Azzurri Group (owners of Zizzi, ASK Italian and Coco di Mama)
Shepherd Neame (Britain’s oldest brewer)
Coca Cola European Partners
- Advised Brand Max on allegations of trade mark infringement and passing off brought by the owner of high street retailer, TK Maxx, in respect of Brand Max, a discount outlet of designer brands opened by Sportsdirect.com Retail Limited in 2017.
- Advising Azzurri Group on all aspects of the restructuring and renegotiation of its commercial arrangements following its pre-pack administration in July 2020.
- Advising Pernod Ricard on the day-to-day management of their core global brands including Martell, G.H. Mumm, Champagne Perrier-Jouët, Chivas Regal, Absolut and Jameson.
The cross-practice team at Baker McKenzie enjoys a strong reputation for its ability to advise retailers and brand owners across the entire life-cycle, from conception through to product and store development, supply chain and distribution arrangements, to product recalls and disputes. While its corporate and IP offering stand out in particular, the practice has 'strong capabilities across all areas, including data protection, IP, commercial contracts and employment’, according to one client. Corporate partner David Scott, fashion retail expert Helen Brown and Julia Hemmings, who focuses on consumer transactions in the retail fashion and fast-moving consumer products, spearhead the consumer goods and retail group. Reorganisation expert Emily Carlisle and corporate strategy-savvy Timothy Gee are additional practitioners of note.
David Scott; Helen Brown; Julia Hemmings
Other key lawyers:
Timothy Gee; Emily Carlisle
‘Strong capabilities across all areas, including data protection, IP, commercial contracts and employment. Good knowledge of our business and commercially focused advice.’
‘All the team are technically very strong, commercial and approachable.’
Tapestry (formerly known as Coach Inc)
Edwardian Hotels Group
Bowers & Wilkins Group Limited (BWG)
- Advised KKR on its $4.3bn purchase of a stake in Coty’s professional beauty and retail haircare divisions, including brands such as Wella, Clairol, OPI and GHD.
- Advised Puig, the third-generation family-owned fashion and beauty company based in Barcelona, on its $1.5bn acquisition of London-based Charlotte Tilbury, the iconic luxury make-up and skincare brand.
- Advised Unilever on its EUR4.6bn acquisition of the Health Food Drinks portfolio of GSK in India, Bangladesh and 20 other markets.
Working across three distinct sub-groups: food and beverages; luxury, fashion and retail, hotels, hospitality and leisure; Bird & Bird LLP’s retail and consumer group is able to leverage firm-wide capabilities in technology, data and IP in its work for clients in the sector. Led by franchising, distribution and supply chain arrangement expert Graeme Payne, the group also shines in wellness-related matters, consumer law issues and corporate transactions. Other names to note within Payne’s group are Victoria Hobbs, whose retail practice includes franchise, licence, distribution and agency agreement disputes; Ian Edwards, who attracts plaudits for his know-how of digital transformation projects; and Robert Turner, who regularly handles cross-border commercial transactions and is an expert in regulatory compliance issues.
Other key lawyers:
Robert Turner; Ian Edwards; Victoria Hobbs
‘This practice is excellent at speed of response and professionalism of treatment.’
‘Victoria Hobbs and Ariane Le Strat (competition) gave excellent retail-specific advice. They were quick to adapt to new problems, and ready to research on these issues to give the most accurate advice possible.’
‘The team is very knowledgeable in all areas of IP and therefore a “one stop shop”. They are very responsive and like to ensure that they work with us in the way we like to work.’
‘B&B’s breadth of service sets it apart. I am able to get access to a range of specialties beyond my core team, making agreements that span several disciplines much easier to construct.’
Marks & Spencer
- Assisted Mothercare with the drafting and negotiating of the UK and Ireland Boots franchise arrangement, which included advising on intellectual property, corporate, employment and finance aspects.
- Advised Marks & Spencer plc (M&S) on its acquisition of the Jaeger fashion brand, which fell into administration.
- Supported TK Maxx with numerous projects as they contracted for technology to support store openings and associate welfare during the COVID crisis.
Under the leadership of Carol Osborne, who is dual-qualified in the UK and the US, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP counts entities in the apparel, cosmetics and fragrances, home products, toys, and food and beverage sectors - as well as manufacturers, landlords and developers - among its wide-ranging client base. Osborne, who has a long track record in the luxury goods space, predominantly handles complex cross-border M&A and high-value commercial agreements but also assists with real estate transactions - a workstream that underpins its retail offering. Technology and commercial practice head Richard Shaw brings to bear experience in product distribution issues, manufacturing work, licensing, franchising and labeling matters. Other areas of strength include IP, restructurings, data privacy, employment and tax issues.
Other key lawyers:
‘Knowledgeable, approachable, very pragmatic, professional and commercial in their dealings.’
‘Everything is done efficiently and quickly, they have excellent knowledge and prioritize their workloads. Excellent communication and response, friendly and approachable.’
‘Good use of technology to collaborate with clients based overseas in different time zone.’
‘Managed different stakeholders within client organisation very well, delivering practical advice that was accessible by the stakeholders / audience.’
City Chic Collective Limited
Clorox (Burt’s Bees)
- Advised City Chic Collective Limited on its acquisition, through a newly incorporated UK subsidiary, of assets comprising the longstanding UK-based women’s plus-sized clothing brand “Evans” and its eCommerce and wholesale business from Evans Retail Limited (in administration) and other entities with the Arcadia Group.
- Advised Tattarang Group, one of Australia’s largest private investment firms, on its acquisition of R.M. Williams, an Australian footwear and clothing company from L Catterton, the largest consumer-focused private equity firm in the world.
- Advised Just Water on its manufacturing agreement with Borrisoleigh Bottling under which the spring water is bottled and flavoured waters produced.
Instructed by a broad range of clients, from FTSE 100 companies to innovative e-commerce and start-up retailers, Gowling WLG’s retail and consumer coverage is buttressed by its wide-ranging strengths in the real estate space The team is headed up by Christopher Hunt, who regularly advises corporate occupiers across retail on office, manufacturing and distribution matters. Kate Swaine and John Coldham, located in the Birmingham and London offices respectively, are both IP specialists who not only offer advice on day-to-day matters but also represent retail and consumer clients in strategic and enforcement matters. Joe Morris, another name to note, heads up the firm’s proptech team.
Other key lawyers:
Kate Swaine; John Coldham; Jocelyn Paulley; Joe Morris
‘The team is very efficient and proactive in resolving issues, always giving advice that fits the situation with an eye on client priorities and budget. They work really well internally and are always coherent across different teams, with a very client-centric focus.’
‘John Coldham showed legal creativity and gave such client-centric advice that we decided he should work on some of our contentious matters. John is highly responsive and persistent, always going the extra mile to ensure the most robust results regardless of our legal position. He shows great initiative, excellent client care and is always conscious of the client.’
Pret a Manger
The Hut Group
The Jewellery Channel
- Advised Made.com on the purchase of a new 396,000 sq ft distribution centre at DP World London Gateway Logistics Park.
- Advising Lidl on construction-related matters to assist with their rapidly expanding store portfolio, their aim being to grow their retail offering to 1,000 stores in the next three years.
- Appointed UK advertising lawyers to Dollar Shave Club, the subscription service which has disrupted the male grooming market in the US and the UK and which is now owned by Unilever.
Presided over by Paul McNicholl and Michael Honan, the latter of whom offers a ‘gold standard for consumer M&A’, Linklaters LLP handles a large proportion of high-value corporate transactions, but also has capabilities in competition, restructuring and employment matters. In one recent standout matter, the group advised Unilever plc on the historic unification of its group legal structure through the £120bn cross-border merger of Unilever NV with Unilever PLC. The practice receives a steady flow of instructions from multinational businesses and FTSE 100 companies across all consumer brand segments advising on matters ranging from production to manufacturing to supply and distribution. Another name to note is competition partner Nicole Kar .
Paul McNicholl; Michael Honan
Other key lawyers:
‘Michael Honan is the gold standard for consumer M&A. Michael is a terrific lawyer, technically gifted and execution-driven.’
‘You know you’re going to get excellent advice and that they will bring in the experts from other teams as and when required.’
‘Excellent turnaround time; available 24/7; practical and highly competitive fee quotes; value for money. They also take the time to understand the client, the client needs and the people involved and they have the ability to break down complex problems and walk clients through.’
Just Eat Takeaway.com
Yum! Brands (incorporating Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut & Taco Bell)
Charoen Pokphand Group Co., Ltd – Thailand’s largest privately owned company – agro/food, retail/distribution and ecommerce/distribution.
Dr. Martens plc
Caesars Entertainment Inc.
Steinhoff International N.V. – one of the world’s largest furniture and household goods retail companies
Westfalia Fruit International – the world’s largest avocado-grower
JDE Peet’s – the world’s largest coffee and tea group owning 50 brands
Deloitte (as administrators of Victoria’s Secret)
Brait S.E. (owner of Iceland Foods)
Towerbrook & Warburg Pincus (on their recommended takeover offer of The AA)
- Advising Unilever plc on the unification of its group legal structure after over 90 years in its previous dual-parent company legal structure.
- Advised Nestlé on D2C acquisitions, including that of Mindful Chef and fast growing pet care nutrition market Lily’s Kitchen.
- Advised Just Eat on its all-share merger with Takeaway.com, as well as on the defence of a hostile takeover bid from Prosus which was seeking to derail that merger.
Mishcon de Reya LLP’s proposition in the retail and consumer sector is underpinned by the firm's real estate coverage. It routinely represents household retailers, high-end luxury brands and high street clients, including FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 companies. In addition, the group - which is co-headed by brand management expert Sally Britton and commercial contracts specialist Lewis Cohen - also shines in IP work, for which it leverages MDR Brand Management, the firm’s brand management business, which offers brand, IP, franchising and licensing support to clients. Sarah Houghton, who sits in the firm's dispute resolution department, is adept acting for claimants and defendants in complex cases concerning competition law.
Sally Britton; Lewis Cohen
Other key lawyers:
‘Having worked with Mishcon for a number of years, our experience has always been one of extreme professionalism coupled with their drive to go the extra mile in terms of service, engagement and delivery.’
‘Sally Britton has given incredible support both pre and post Brexit. Her exceptional knowledge has been integral in helping our organisation and the designer community navigate the many challenges our sector has experienced during these unprecedented times.’
Kering (including Gucci and Alexander McQueen)
Capital & Counties (Covent Garden London)
- Represented Sainsbury’s in the Supreme Court in its successful case against MasterCard.
- Advised leading maternity fashion brand Seraphine as it was acquired in a £50m management buy-out led by technology investor Mayfair Equity Partners.
- Advises longstanding client Capco on its £2bn Garden portfolio. Mishcon’s multi-disciplinary advice covers landlord and tenant, sales and acquisitions, planning and real estate litigation, as well as IP and commercial matters.
Pinsent Masons LLP
Retained by an assortment of household retail clients, Pinsent Masons LLP’s retail and consumer team is active in corporate deals, private equity transactions and commercial collaborations. More broadly, the group, which is led by private equity partner Tom Leman, is instructed in matters pertaining to investments, supplier contracts, regulatory compliance, advertising, employment, real estate, IT contracts, energy procurement, health and safety, data protection and litigation. Working alongside Leman in London is trade mark and brand protection expert Florian Traub and IP litigator Iain Connor, while Samantha Livesey, who is located in Manchester, also handles e-commerce and technology-related instructions.
Other key lawyers:
Samantha Livesey; Iain Connor; Florian Traub
The Body Shop
Motor Fuel Group
- Advised Lily’s Kitchen Limited and its shareholders (including L Catterton, the current private equity investor) on the sale of 100% of the Company’s share capital to Nestlé UK Ltd.
- Advised Charlotte Tilbury on the sale of a majority stake in Charlotte Tilbury to Puig, the family-owned, fashion and fragrance company based in Barcelona.
- Advised Odeon Cinemas Group, part of the AMC Theatres group, on the sale of Forum Cinemas, totalling nine theatre locations in the Baltic region (Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia).
Noted for its ‘very solid expertise in the retail and consumer sector’, the team at Shoosmiths LLP is fronted by IP disputes expert Gary Assim, who has ‘great experience and a natural authority’. The department, which fields ‘a great mix of junior and senior staff’, flourishes in the high street segment, specialising in real estate matters, restructuring work, employment mandates and data protection issues. Elsewhere, Kirsty Black in Manchester stars in complex real estate litigation, Solent-based Stuart Lawrenson advises on employment law issues, and Sanjeev Sharma, located in Thames Valley, on corporate transactions.
‘All really stand out for their excellence in the work they do. They have a profound knowledge of their work and are very responsive.’
‘Shoosmiths has a great mix of junior and senior staff. New ways of thinking mixed with lots of experience. They encourage new thinking.’
‘Gary Assim has great experience and has a natural authority which comes in very handy in mediations (where even the opposing side seem to listen and “take in”.’
‘The team at Shoosmiths has very solid expertise in the retail and consumer sector having provided legal advice to clients in the field for many years. They really know what they are doing and are at the top of their game.’
‘The individual who stands at a Shoosmiths is Gary Assim, who is intelligent and has great communication skills. He knows how to provide clients with top quality advice so they are reassured in well-guided decision-making processes.’
Sportsdirect.com Retail Limited
Boots and Boots Opticians
The Fashion Group (“TFG”) which includes Phase Eight (Fashion & Design) Limited (“Phase Eight”) Hobbs Fashion Holding Limited (“Hobbs”) and Whistles Limited (“Whistles”)
Selfridges Retail Limited
Topps Tiles (UK) Ltd
Burges Salmon LLP is particularly adept at handling restructuring and insolvency mandates, IP issues and corporate transactions for a stellar client base that includes some of the UK’s leading retailers. Real estate retail lead Matthew Sims is a key name in the group, which also includes IP expert Jeremy Dickerson, who has considerable expertise in matters relating to trade marks, patents and copyright. Andrew Eaton, meanwhile, has extensive experience in advising on insolvencies and other distressed situations. Other names to note are Helen Scott-Lawler and Chris Worrall, who focuses on competition mandates.
Matt Sims; Helen Scott-Lawler; Jeremy Dickerson; Andy Eaton; Chris Worrall; Adrian Martin
John Lewis & Partners
Waitrose & Partners
Co-operative Group Limited
JET Petrol Stations (Phillips 66)
John Lewis and Waitrose
L Brands: Victoria’s Secret, PINK, and Bath & Body Works
Santa Barbara Polo Club
Beulah London Ltd and subsequently liquidators from Quantuma
Trustees of the Silentnight Pension Scheme
Trustees of the Beales Pension Scheme
Administrators (FRP Advisory) of Energie Corporation Limited (and subsidiaries)
- Advising John Lewis and Waitrose in relation to employment, commercial and real estate matters.
- Acting as sole UK trade mark counsel to Starbucks.
- Advised Co-operative Group on the merger control aspects of a number of acquisitions in the convenience retail store sector.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s retail offering distinguishes itself through its longstanding track record in commercial, IP and technology-related matters. It regularly receives instructions concerning commercial contracts, advertising and marketing work, e-commerce-related issues, and trade mark advice and infringement. Leading the wider sports, retail and tech group that includes the retail practice, Jason Saiban frequently advises high-profile clients on high-end commercial contracts, which is also a strong suit of Megan Paul's. Edward Craig stands out for his knowledge of luxury retail brands, Michael Powner primarily advises food and beverage clients and Mary Bagnall specialises in IP issues.
Jason Saiban; Edward Craig; Michael Powner
Other key lawyers:
Mary Bagnall; Megan Paul
‘Extremely personable and easy to converse with; flexible; provide quick responses when you need something urgently.’
‘Megan Paul is exceptional. Megan has taken a lot of time to understand our business requirements and the specificities of our industry. A good level of realism mixed with an excellent legal understanding means you can trust her advice fully. We wouldn’t work with anyone else now.’
Stonegate Pub Company Limited
Al Tayer Group (“Al Tayer”)
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz)
Australian Manuka Honey Association
- Advising Nike on the full range of commercial contracts, including supply agreements, sponsorship agreements, production agreements, promotion and advertising agreements and product collaboration agreements.
- Advising Value Retail on its strategic partnerships and marketing campaigns as well as assisting with the drafting and negotiation of a three year framework agreement with the media agency responsible for media strategy, planning and buying across the nine European Villages.
- Acted for Golden Wolfe, one of the largest footwear suppliers to a number of high street retailers, in a number of disputes with the retailers arising out of cancellations of orders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In close collaboration with international colleagues, Clifford Chance LLP in London mainly advises high-profile multinationals on the domestic dimension of cross-border corporate transactions. In addition, its retail offering also encompasses licensing arrangements, franchising work, IP protection and enforcement, and competition issues. Vastly experienced M&A expert David Pudge, who heads the retail sub-group, and IP specialist Stephen Reese are two practitioners with substantial retail and consumer practices.
Other key lawyers:
‘Sound commercial advice delivered in a timely manner on which I can plan absolute reliance.’
‘Consistently responsive individuals who deliver practical advice.’
‘The service is excellent and, given the longstanding relationship, the team dedicated to our company has excellent knowledge of the industry and its players; the collaboration is seamless, the team is highly responsive and “always on” and is providing practical and creative advice and gets deals done!‘
‘They come up with creative & practical solutions and just know their stuff.’
Philip Morris Products, S.A
The Absolut Company
French Connection Group plc
Matalan Group Limited
THG plc (formerly The Hut Group)
- Assisted THG plc on its headline-making IPO.
- Advising French Connection Group plc on discussions and negotiations regarding approaches from four interested parties.
- Advising Delivery Hero on its strategic partnership with Woowa Brothers Corp.
K&L Gates LLP has an enviable track record not only in the fashion and luxury goods space but also in the electronics and general consumer goods sectors. Part of the wider firm’s IP and technology department, the retail offering advises across a myriad of issues affecting retail businesses, most notably intellectual property work, commercial contracts, social media-related issues, and brand and technology transactions. Jennifer Marsh focuses on distribution strategies, Arthur Artinian’s personal practice emphasises IP, while Catherine Adam’s retail experience includes supply chain issues.
Arthur Artinian; Catherine Adam; Jennifer Marsh
‘They have a global reach for local expertise and presence when sending letters.’
‘Our contacts are always willing to have calls when needed on new topics that need escalation.’
General Mills (Yoplait, Haagen-Dazs, Cheerios, Green Giant)
Luxottica Group (Ray-Ban, Oakley, Persol)
Ping Europe Limited
- Representing Nike in a global trade mark dispute against Puma in relation to the FOOTWARE trade mark, which includes opposition, invalidity and court proceedings in the UK, EU, USA, Korea, Japan and Australia.
- Advising Coty on the global launch of the Kylie Skin and Kylie Cosmetics businesses, following from its representation of the client in a $600m licensing and collaboration deal with celebrity influencer Kylie Jenner.
- Advised Ping Europe Limited on seeking permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, including liaising with several third party interveners who also made submissions to the Supreme Court (including Make UK, the Professional Golfers’ Association and the UK Golf Federation).
Jointly led by Julia Poulter and Anna Sella, Lewis Silkin LLP’s group is primarily instructed on IP and brand management mandates, commercial and technology contracts, franchising issues, employment and immigration work, and real estate transactions. Besides its work for high street retailers and independent retailers, the group is continuing to carve out a reputation in the luxury and lifestyle arena, where it leverages The Collective, a sector-focused initiative that encourages collaboration between luxury retail companies. Alan Hunt, who was promoted to partner in April 2021, is a founder and leader of the initiative.
Julia Poulter; Anna Sella
Other key lawyers:
James Walters; Alan Hunt
‘Experience in lease negotiations with large shopping centres, and client side experience as well as practice.’
‘Julia Poulter has shown a deep understanding of our business and the challenges we face as a start-up. She has provided interesting ideas that have saved us time and money while protecting us.’
Marks & Spencer
- Negotiating several complex and business critical arrangements for M&S with key logistics providers including XPO, DHL, Clipper and Gist.
- Advising Superdry on its endorsement deal with the Brazilian footballer, Neymar Jr.
- Advising Lush on numerous complex and/or high value matters and various SaaS, licensing and integration deals.
While Slaughter and May is a key name in the City for large corporate transactions, it also provides retail clients with standalone support across a number of practice areas, including restructuring and insolvency, financing, and real estate. It acts for leading high street names, major online retailers and large international consumer companies, with particular expertise in fashion and food and drink. Some of the partners most active in this space are Andy Ryde and Sally Wokes, who advised Walmart in its proposed sale of a majority stake in Asda Group Limited.
Rob Innes; Andrew Jolly; Victoria MacDuff; Simon Nicholls; John Papanichola; Andy Ryde; Sally Wokes
‘100% delivery track record for us – it’s truly impressive, not many firms can claim that.’
‘Practical hands-on advice. Great knowledge of our sector and always available.’
Coca-Cola European Partners
Just Eat Takeaway.com
- Advised Reckitt Benckiser Group plc on a transaction for the sale of Scholl to Yellow Wood Partners.
- Advised Walmart on the proposed sale of a majority stake in Asda Group Limited (Asda), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Walmart, to a consortium comprising the Issa brothers and TDR Capital.
- Acted for HEMA B.V., one of the largest and most iconic retailers in the Netherlands, on its successful scheme of arrangement and its wider restructuring.
Squire Patton Boggs' group combines know-how in the traditional retail sector with consumer brand capabilities, handling the full suite of legal matters across the supply chain. The group is instructed on finance, restructuring, advertising, IP, real estate, employment and corporate mandates. Employment law maven Matthew Lewis heads the global practice from Leeds, where Prew Lumley handles portfolio management mandates. Other names to note include London-based Carlton Daniel, who mainly advises on IP issues, and Birmingham-based Simon Jones, noted for his track record in IT projects.
Other key lawyers:
Prew Lumley; Carlton Daniel; Simon Jones; Louise Barber
‘A responsive team who offer pragmatic, well-thought-through advice at good value. Turnaround time is quick and the team has good retail knowledge. Particularly strong at handling litigation.’
‘The team are extremely responsive and work with us more as a partner than an advisor, helping with practical operationally correct decisions rather than simply advising on the law.’
‘They go the extra mile, add value on business decisions and priorities, support and up-skill our HR Operational teams, and keep us abreast of key learnings / cases / legal updates on a timely basis.’
‘The team are relatable and approachable which makes it far easier to come to a good solution. It means they understand our attitude to risk balanced against the industry challenges we work in where things change very quickly.’
‘The specific individuals we work with make themselves available, are regularly reaching out to us to make sure we’re in the loop of changes and in the last year in particular they have been regularly available at short notice to help us navigate the challenges of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Furlough.’
‘All the team members I have come in contact with have been really helpful, supportive and great advice. This includes their international teams too.’
‘Matthew Lewis is exceptional. He’s very supportive, understands the particular situation and his advice is clear. He is very pragmatic in his approach. Great to work with.’
WM Morrisons Plc
Studio Retail Group
The Co-operative Group (Co-op)
Pets At Home
Claire’s Accessories UK Limited
Signet Group Limited
Cancer Research UK
AS Watson (SuperDrug, Perfume Shop and Savers)
Pure Electric Scooters
- Represented Morrison Supermarkets PLC in litigation concerning the defective design and construction of its 3 species food plant extension in Northern England.
- Advised Studio Retail Group PLC on a number of strategic and business-critical projects, including the amendment and extension of its revolving credit facility.
- Advised Aurelius Finance Company Limited on second lien inventory finance facilities provided to M&Co retail group in connection with completion of its pre-pack administration.
Placing an emphasis on online retailers and brands with high-tech needs, Taylor Wessing LLP frequently assists consumer product, fashion and luxury, retailer, and food and beverage clients. Practice co-head Edward Story routinely advises restaurants and other food and beverage retail businesses on logistics and supply chain issues, while fellow co-head Jason Rawkins spearheads the fashion and luxury team, where he has a particular focus on IP. Experienced commercial disputes lawyer Katie Chandler and consumer and e-commerce law expert Siân Skelton are other key names.
Edward Story; Jason Rawkins
Other key lawyers:
Katie Chandler; Graham Hann; Siân Skelton
William Grant & Sons (Glenfiddich, Drambuie, Hendrick’s)
Intu Properties Plc
Casual Dining Group
Rutland Partners LLP
LDH (La Doria) (multi brands including John West Tuna)
Hilton Food Group Plc
Ritual Technologies Inc.
Offering advice that ‘is always pragmatic and cuts to the heart of the question’, Travers Smith LLP assists a mix of longstanding consumer goods clients as well as newer online brands. The group, which is spearheaded by corporate and ECM specialist Adrian West, has a track record advising on major corporate transactions, as well as e-commerce projects and data protection issues. Also active in this area are commercial, IP and technology lawyer Dan Reavill, IP and technology group head Louisa Chambers, commercial contract expert Ben Chivers, and restructuring specialist Edward Smith.
Other key lawyers:
Dan Reavill; Louisa Chambers; Ben Chivers; Edward Smith
‘What makes this team unique is that they have many specialist areas that work really collaboratively together, which makes working with them so easy.’
‘The retail and consumer practice at Travers Smith know their clients’ space and needs very well. The advice given is always pragmatic and cuts to the heart of the question. The online knowledge-sharing sessions run by the practice are incredibly helpful and insightful.’
Auction Technology Group
Pets at Home
S.A Brain & Company
- Advised Auction Technology Group on its £600 million Main Market IPO.
- Advised the Azzurri Group its joint administrators on its sale through administration to US investment management firm TowerBrook Capital Partners.
- Advised PwC, the administrators of noted homeware and fashion retailer Laura Ashley on the sale of its brand to US restructuring and investment firm Gordon Brothers.
Commended for its 'deep sector expertise', Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s retail and fast-moving consumer goods department routinely assists retailers, landlords, investors and consumer brands on the full range of retail and trading law issues. Operating out of seven offices across England and Scotland, the group is particularly active in product liability issues, real estate work, and corporate transactions. Group head Gavin Matthews - who is 'always abreast of developments and has great experience to call upon' - is a retail litigator whose workload is dominated by complex commercial disputes and corporate defence work. Alistair Walton, a real estate specialist, has considerable experience advising on acquisition and disposal programmes.
Other key lawyers:
Nicky Strong; Alistair Walton; Christina Tolvas Vincent
‘Christina Tolvas Vincent understands our business and is pragmatic.’
‘WBD are true experts in the retail area, with deep sector expertise. Their ability to share sector-specific insights is invaluable.‘
‘There is nothing Gavin Matthews doesn’t know about retail. He is always abreast of developments and has great experience to call upon.’
Nestware Holdings Limited (holding company for Carpetright)
Kingfisher plc (including B&Q and Screwfix)
Naked Wines Plc and Majestic Wine Warehouses Limited
GoCompare.com Limited (part of GoCo Group Plc)
- Advised Ashworth and Parker Limited (t/a END) on the sale of entire issued share capital to Lobster Bidco Limited – funded by equity funds managed by The Carlyle Group, and a proportion of proceeds reinvested by the founders.
- Advised Nestware, holding company of the UK’s largest retailer of carpets, flooring and beds, Carpetright, on its acquisition of Carpet & Flooring (Trading) Limited, one of the UK’s largest distributors of floor covering products and accessories.
- Assisting Ann Summers on the restructure of over 100 leases consensually to avoid and/or mitigate the impact of prospective CVA or administration.
Leveraging a stellar luxury brand client base, Browne Jacobson LLP has notable strengths in real estate, demonstrating the ‘experience and flexibility to partner with a large multinational organisation with an extensive and varied national property portfolio’. It is jointly headed by real estate specialists Caroline Green and Sarah Parkinson, the former of whom also has a track record in logistics solutions. Other names to note are IP expert Declan Cushley and property lawyer Suki Tonks. Alex Watt recently departed the group to join Howard Kennedy LLP.
Caroline Green; Sarah Parkinson
Other key lawyers:
Suki Tonks; Declan Cushley
‘The practice has the experience and flexibility to partner with a large multi-national organisation with an extensive and varied national property portfolio and work with the systems and governance appropriate to the environment.’
‘Sarah Parkinson provides strong leadership of the property team and remains involved with transactional instructions, offering outstanding advice in particularly complex and higher value deals, with an in-depth understanding of the objectives and the best way to achieve great results.’
‘They are always professional. The sharing of information seemed to work.’
Walgreens Boots Alliance (“Boots”)
- Advising PZ Cussons Beauty on the development and roll out of its innovative ‘direct to consumer’ e-commerce websites, which enable key brands (including St. Tropez and Sanctuary Spa) to sell directly to consumers across multiple jurisdictions.
- Acting for Duolab on its launch of a new brand, advising on a range of matters including: the marketing strategy, the launch of the website, and data protection compliance.
- Advising Pure Gym on its £350m acquisition of the Fitness World chain based in Denmark to create the second-largest gym and fitness operator in Europe with over 500 facilities across the UK, Denmark, Switzerland and Poland and serving c.1.7m members.
Clyde & Co LLP brings extensive experience to bear on real estate matters for a range of independent retailers, restaurant chains, and national and multinational corporations. Laura Oliver joined in 2020 from Hogan Lovells International LLP to replace former practice head David Wyatt, who retired in April 2021. Oliver now leads the group alongside Anabelle Redman, who assists retail clients on a broad range of investment and development transactions. The key name to note for retail-related property litigation is Keith Conway.
Laura Oliver; Anabelle Redman
Other key lawyers:
‘The team work together well, play to each other’s strengths, and collectively seek to approach work with a friendly, collaborative outset.’
Crew Clothing Co.
Joe & The Juice
- Acting for B&Q in relation to their new “store within a store” partnership with Asda.
- Acting for Smiggle on all of their store openings in England and Wales and their subsequent renewals.
- Advising Five Guys on all transactional real estate matters.
Fox Williams LLP wins praise for its ‘considerable knowledge and experience’ in the retail and consumer space, standing out for its know-how of the fashion sector in particular. The group, which is overseen by supply chain expert Stephen Sidkin, leverages firmwide expertise in commercial and corporate, IP, employment, real estate and dispute resolution. Simon Bennett, leads the IP group, while Rhys Griffiths, as head of the travel practice, regularly deals with issues affecting consumer brands.
Other key lawyers:
Simon Bennett; Rhys Griffiths
‘The team we work with at Fox Williams are experts in this field, with a considerable level of knowledge and experience. They each apply legal principles whilst being mindful of commercial considerations. The team is well balanced and pragmatic whilst ensuring that they seek the best outcomes for their clients.’
‘Rhys Griffiths in particular is able to cut through the complexity and communicate clearly to our business.’
‘Great understanding of fashion business. Quick to respond, always happy to explain the legal-speak.’
Guinot-Mary Cohr UK Limited
PXG UK Limited
James Johnston & Company of Elgin Limited
Cut4Cloth Limited t/a Frugi
Josef Seibel UK Limited
Gordon Bennett International Limited (Marc Darcy)
Blue Bella Limited
- Advised Cut4Cloth Limited t/a Frugi on entering into agreements with inspection companies in India and Turkey that will undertake the inspection of clients’ manufacturers in both countries in order to ensure their compliance with ethical and organic requirements.
- Defended the Bentley Clothing trademark in the Court of Appeal.
- Advising PXG UK Limited on a range of commercial issues, including the set-up of the company’s UK e-commerce site, B2B distributorship arrangements in the EU, and various marketing and product pricing queries.
Retail is a key sector for Freeths LLP; the national firm's 'pragmatic and commercial' practice is led from London by office managing partner and disputes specialist Philippa Dempster. Other key names include property specialists Sarah Griggs and Jon Smart and IP and media head Simon Barker. Smart and Barker are based in Nottingham and Birmingham, illustrating the firm's wide national reach - it has a total of 12 offices across the UK. Clients are drawn from sectors such as fashion, food and drink and home improvement - the firm also works with a number of prominent designer outlet shopping companies, advising on development, leasing and employment matters.
Other key lawyers:
Sarah Griggs; Jon Smart; Charlotte Rees-John; Matt Stephens; Dahren Naidoo; Simon Barker; Jessica Matthews
‘Sarah Griggs is a trusted expert in delivering on acquisition requirements.’
‘The team are always available and provide pragmatic and commercial responses. They have supported us by allowing us to collaborate and learn more about how they work.’
‘With both the challenges and the opportunities that the recent pandemic has brought to fruition, this last 18 months has been our busiest to date. Freeths’ advice and legal insight has always been held in the highest regard by our company directors; but we can confidently assure others that our navigation of the recent waters, has been far simpler and far more manageable as a result of the close partnership we have built with both Sarah Griggs and Matt Stephens. Both, with the support of their respective teams, have been innovative in their approach to some of the most testing of situations. It is very much a ‘can-do’ attitude, one that looks for innovative solutions, one which is proactive and one which sits hand in hand with our focus on creating sustainable and profitable retailing of the future.’
‘Sarah Griggs – I never hesitate to recommend her. Commercial and knowledgeable in dealing with all aspects of the acquisition process.’
‘Charlotte Rees-John understands our business and is therefore able to offer us advice which is tailored to the culture we operate within. Her responses are always timely, her communication clear and in plain speak and she operates in a way which not only protects the business in the moment, but also provides ‘learning’ moments so the team are supported for the future.’
‘Sarah Griggs and Matt Stephens are both exceptional. Professional. Honest. Responsive. Innovative thinkers.’
Lyle & Scott
Scotch Corner Designer Village
Travis Perkins PLC
McArthurGlen UK Limited
Star Brands Limited
Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein (PVH UK Group)
- Assisted Travis Perkins in a contractual separation project for the divestment of the wholesale plumbing and heating division (Primaflow F&P) from its group portfolio.
- Acting for Lyle & Scott in a claim against American Eagle Outfitters for passing off and breach of co-existence agreement in relation to the use of the parties’ respective eagle logos.
- Advising Scotch Corner Designer Village, a leading designer outlet-shopping destination in the North of England, on all aspects of the scheme since inception, including crafting template documentation and exchanging agreements to develop and lease 30 units to 24 different retailers and restaurateurs.
Harbottle & Lewis LLP advises luxury brands, fashion designers and retailers, and high-profile individuals, and has niche expertise in ethical fashion-related matters and sustainability projects. Jointly headed up by commercial litigator Sandi Simons and property lawyer Melanie Benson, the group has exhibited particular expertise in commercial contracts, reputation and brand management issues, employment matters, sponsorships, influencer marketing, IP mandates, and dispute resolution. Other names to note are Marian Derham and Michael Lister.
Sandi Simons; Melanie Benson
Other key lawyers:
Marian Derham; Michael Lister
Victoria Beckham Limited
Astrid & Miyu
Wolford London Limited
De Beers UK Limited
- Advising Kyra, a new-age media youth entertainment company heavily involved in the fashion and retail industries, on its commercial partnerships with major fashion and lifestyle retailers, branded content deals and arrangements with high profile influencer talent.
- Advised I E B Trading Limited, t/a allbeauty which sells well-known beauty brands at discount prices, on its acquisition by Maximo Group, a joint venture between the owners of allbeauty, private investors and the Guernsey Investment Fund.
- Advised Cara Delevingne, as well as her sisters Poppy and Chloe, on their investment and promotional services related to the new prosecco brand Della Vite.
Assisting retailers with new store acquistions, insolvency-related issues, lease agreements and portfolio management, Hogan Lovells International LLP is particularly active on the landlord side, where it acts for a wide range of REITS and fund managers in both litigation and non-contentious projects. UK real estate lead Oliver Chamberlain deals with a broad range of real estate matters in the space, while Sahira Khwaja - co-head of the firm's fashion and luxury brands offshoot - specialises in IP matters.
Oliver Chamberlain; Sahira Khwaja
Other key lawyers:
Argent/King’s Cross Central LP
LaSalle Investment Management (Coal Pension Properties)
Mars Pension Fund
M&G Real Estate
Russell and Bromley
- Advising King’s Cross Central LP on the new Heatherwick redesigned Coal Drop’s Yard experiential retail and leisure destination at King’s Cross Central.
- Successfully represented Olaplex in a patent infringement case against L’Oréal.
- Advise Russell & Bromley on all English properties in their portfolio.