Retail and consumer in London
Addleshaw Goddard handles the full spectrum of retail work, leveraging its full-service offering and national office network to advise clients on high-end strategic mandates as well as business-as-usual issues. The practice’s high-profile client roster spans retailers, fast moving consumer goods companies and top brands. Notable examples include Sainsbury’s, GlaxoSmithKline, Ted Baker and Diageo. Andrew Rosling and Mark Molyneux in Manchester jointly lead the retail and consumer group; Rosling is a key contact for M&A work while Molyneux focuses on contentious mandates. Other practitioners contributing to the sector group include litigator Louisa Caswell, who specialises in contractual disputes, warranty and indemnity claims, and supplier and distributor issues; and M&A expert James Tatro.
Associated British Foods
Wyevale Garden Centre
Lucozade Ribena Suntory
William Jackson Food Group
- Advised the trustees of the Asda Group Pension Scheme on the £3.8bn buy-in of the scheme with Rothesay Life.
- Advising on the sale and break up strategy of the Wyevale Garden Centres business, instigated by its shareholder Terra Firma.
- Assisted PZ Cussons with the strategic disposals of its non-core businesses outside of the UK.
With expertise along the full consumer value chain, CMS is a go-to name in the market for highly strategic mandates, acting for retailers and manufacturers at a national and international level. Recent highlights include handling all of Sainsbury’s tenant portfolio work and real estate litigation, and acting for Nestlé in its high-profile UK and EU trade mark campaign relating to its four finger Kit Kat. Unilever, Marks & Spencer and French Connection are also key clients. IP specialist Tom Scourfield and corporate partner Katie Nagy de Nagybaczon jointly lead the cross-departmental sector-focused group; Nagy de Nagybaczon also has notable expertise in the fashion industry. The practice is able to leverage wider expertise in property mandates, environment and sustainability issues, IP and brand protection work, and consumer law. Helen Johnson founded the firm’s retail practice and is a key name for corporate mandates, Matthew Bennett focuses on commercial arrangements and partnerships, while Louise Wallace previously led the firm’s consumer products sector group.
Sainsbury’s (including Argos and Habitat)
Marks & Spencer
MacAndrews & Forbes (Revlon)
- Advising Sainsbury’s, including Argos and Habitat, on the full spectrum of its tenant portfolio work and real estate litigation.
- Assisting Nestlé with its long-running campaign to secure trade mark protection for the shape of the four finger Kit Kat at both a UK and EU level.
- Advised UK-based furniture retailer Sofa.com on its high-profile acquisition by Sports Direct owner, Mike Ashley.
Dentons’ highly regarded retail and consumer practice acts on a national and global level for a client roster comprising retailers, brands, restaurants, landlords and franchises. The group is a key name for high-profile mandates, and recently assisted Sports Direct with its acquisition of House of Fraser. It also advised The Edinburgh Woollen Mill on the off-market acquisition of Bonmarche by Spectre Holdings. With capabilities across the full gamut of retail work and notable strength in real estate and corporate mandates, the practice also leverages the firm’s online portal, Legal Front Door, to provide clients with a single point of access to the firm’s legal services and specialists. Derek McCombe leads the group from Glasgow; other key practitioners include commercial expert Scott Singer, who counts Sainsbury’s and John Lewis Partnership as clients; Miriam Best, who focuses on real estate matters and mixed-use developments; real estate litigator Bryan Johnston, and Martin Fanning, who handles IT, IP and data protection mandates.
‘The service that the team deliver is exceptional. They really make us feel like valued customers. The advice we receive is pragmatic, easy to interpret and helps us get to the desired result.’
John Lewis Partnership
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group
TUI UK Limited
Pret A Manger
- Advising Sainsbury’s (including Argos) across a range of work including commercial contracts, technology and outsourcing, real estate, construction and high-value dispute resolution cases.
- Acted for Sports Direct on its high-profile acquisition of House of Fraser.
- Advised longstanding client Edinburgh Woollen Mill on the off-market acquisition by Spectre Holding of a 52.4% equity stake in fashion retailer Bonmarche from private equity investor BM Holdings.
With ‘a global team of commercially minded lawyers, who assist with work across a variety of practice areas and territories’, DLA Piper ‘genuinely tries to operate as an extension of the in-house team’ for retail and consumer clients. Notable names on the firm’s client roster include Nike, Arcadia and Unilever. IP and brands expert Ruth Hoy is international head of the retail group and Mark Dewar (who advises on supply chain contracts and product launches) is international head of the consumer goods practice, while Birmingham-based Noel Haywood is head of the global consumer goods, food and retail team, and technology transactional specialist Chloe Forster is the UK sector lead for consumer goods, food and retail. The dedicated practice is singled out for its commercial contract expertise across the full spectrum of retail supply chains and also has notable regulatory experience. The group expanded its retail real estate offering with the recruitment of Susan Samuel from Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP in 2019.
Other key lawyers:
‘Ruth Hoy and Chloe Forster have been our key contacts at DLA Piper. I’ve been working with them for the past 2 years and I cannot stress enough how much positive feedback we’ve received on the two of them. The best quality we value in them is their commitment to truly impacting young businesses by providing tangible results. We also appreciate their enthusiasm in getting involved in the different projects, where they always make sure they take part, thus showing that their commitment to the fashion sector is not only professional but also personal, and genuine.‘
‘DLA Piper has broad expertise in retail and consumer both from an IP and commercial perspective but also in other practice areas across the firm. They have a very significant platform worldwide across all practice areas.’
‘DLA provide a global team of commercially minded lawyers that assist with work across a variety of practice areas and territories. They genuinely try to operate as an extension of the in house team and provide clear recommendations and advice.‘
‘Ruth Hoy provides strategic and commercial advice across a variety of areas and is someone we truly value for her opinion and insight. She also plays a crucial role in leading the DLA team across multiple territories.’
‘DLA really take the time to get to know our internal team and understand our business, which enables them to better support us and act as a true extension of our in-house team. It also enables them to focus on the big picture and deliver pragmatic business solutions to complicated legal issues. Their lawyers are prepared to adopt a commercial approach when required and give us clear recommendations rather than simply laying out the options. They have excellent attention to detail and are able to tailor their advice to our specific needs and provide it in a way that can be efficiently relayed to our internal clients.‘
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,
- Acting for Clarks in a dispute in the High Court relating to the exit of its CEO arising from behaviour that allegedly amounted to harassment towards various UK and US employees.
- Representing Nike in a complex trade mark and passing off dispute against Frank Industries in relation to Nike’s multi-million pound ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’ advertising campaign.
- Advised Puma United Kingdom on the acquisition of newly developed warehouse space at Glasshoughton, near Castleford in Yorkshire.
As one of the firm’s five priority sectors, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP’s retail group is divided into three distinct parts, with Manchester-based James Batham leading the retail and leisure department, Paul Moorcroft in Birmingham heading up the consumer group, and Amanda Partland leading the food and beverage practice from Leeds. With the ability to utilise the firm’s wider national and international network, the group’s work also regularly involves global offices, particularly those across the US. The team takes a cross-practice approach to advising clients operating in this sector, able to call in expertise across a broad range of areas including M&A, employment, real estate, insolvency, data and compliance work. The practice’s position in the market is also exemplified by its recent work for Morrisons, in which the group defended the supermarket in more than 2,100 high-profile equal pay claims brought by customer assistant employees.
Frasers (formally known as Sports Direct, including House of Fraser)
John Lewis Partnership
Kering (including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen)
Next (including Lipsy)
Wm Morrison Supermarkets
- Defended Morrisons in over 2,100 equal pay claims brought by customer assistant employees.
- Advising Starbucks on a change to its franchised model (as opposed to owner-operated model) throughout selected parts of Western Europe.
- Assisted Steinhoff UK with the strategic disposal of Harveys and Bensons for Beds to specialist retail investor Alteri, as part of the client’s aim to simplify its portfolio of brands.
With a ‘proactive and commercial’ practice, Osborne Clarke LLP takes a full-service approach to the retail sector with expertise across corporate transactions, advisory work, commercial mandates, real estate projects and regulatory matters. Bristol-based group head Dolf Darnton focuses on real estate work, while Will Robertson has notable experience in digital transformation projects and technology issues, and Katie Vickery handles regulatory compliance and risk matters. The team’s client roster includes a broad range of retailers and brands; Simba Sleep, Dyson Technology, Fortnum & Mason and Microsoft Stores are notable examples. The practice also recently advised Just Eat on its acquisition of City Pantry and is handling the administration of Bonmarche.
‘Really commercial with a clear grasp of disruptive e-commerce business models.‘
‘Proactive and commercial.‘
Fortnum & Mason
Microsoft Stores Limited
Marks & Spencer
Administrators of Bonmarché
- Advising Just Eat on its acquisition of City Pantry Limited.
- Acting for the administrators of Bonmarché on efforts to sell the 318-store retailer.
- Advising Superdry on several digital transformation initiatives, including the optimisation of its franchise agreements and the development of an online platform to enhance its business.
At RPC, the practice, under the joint leadership of commercial expert Jeremy Drew and corporate specialist Karen Hendy, fields ‘an excellent team with a good strategic overview’. Clients describe the team's lawyers as ‘clever, hardworking and willing to roll up their sleeves to get things done’. Drew is regarded as an ‘outstanding partner, who is a strategic thinker and solution generator’ while Ciara Cullen (who leads the food and drink retail group) is described as ‘approachable, knowledgeable and very commercial’. Other key individuals include digital retail specialist Oliver Bray, IP specialist Ben Mark, real estate specialist Elizabeth Alibhai and newly promoted partner Henry Priestley. The retail sector sits as a core pillar of the firm’s wider offering, with clients benefiting from the firm’s end-to-end approach across food and drink issues, bricks and mortar-type work and digital projects. The team also offers multiple retail-specific client tools including RetailSecure, a data breach response service for retail clients.
‘RPC has a combination of intellectual property and retail/consumer expertise. I think the combination is what makes them stand out from their peers along with their substantial experience in handling heavy disputes in the retail and consumer sector.‘
‘Jeremy Drew. Extremely business orientated and extremely tactically astute. On top of that a real pleasure to work with.’
‘The team at RPC are proactive and commercial. They provided unique insight into how we could substantiate our product claims and protect ourselves from future litigation.‘
‘Ciara Cullen has been a fantastic support to us. She is approachable, knowledgeable and very commercial.’
‘Very friendly and approachable, and always happy to help. They are very thorough, but also commercial and pragmatic when needed. Deadlines are met even when challenging! They are happy to explore strategy and wider considerations and not stick to just the “legal” parts of a deal, and really do add value. Well liked by the wider business including senior management.‘
‘The litigation team dealing with commercial matters I have dealt with is lead by Jeremy Drew and also in this team is Henry Priestley – a newly appointed partner. They are an excellent team with a good strategic overview and focus on the clients overall objectives. Clever and hard working – willing to roll up their sleeves to get things done.‘
‘Jeremy Drew: outstanding partner – a strategic thinker and solution generator.‘
‘Henry Priestley: Hard working and highly competent.‘
House of Fraser
Crabtree & Evelyn
Coca Cola European Partners
Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard
Warner Music Group
Charlotte Tilbury Beauty Limited
- Advising Sports Direct on the operational integration of the House of Fraser business into its own.
- Advising Stella McCartney on the high-profile buyout of her existing joint venture arrangements with Kering, and subsequently entering into a new partnership with the French conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton.
- Advising Instagram on the launch of a new in-app sales feature.
Baker McKenzie’s consumer goods and retail practice acts for retailers and brands on the full spectrum of retail mandates and issues occurring across the whole life cycle of a product - from supply chain matters to distribution work, sustainability issues, IP matters, corporate transactions and litigation. The team also has a notable presence in the luxury goods sector where it leverages its international network to act for global fashion brands and high-end retailers. Emily Carlisle and Timothy Gee jointly lead the group. Carlisle is a member of the corporate department and is praised as ‘a brilliant lawyer’, while Gee is also head of the firm’s global M&A practice. Corporate partner David Scott also contributes to the team, as does Justin Salkeld, who handles real estate mandates.
‘The team is great. I really enjoyed working with them. They are very experienced in all matters retail and provide a joined up approach.‘
‘Emily Carlisle is a brilliant lawyer. Not just from a technical angle, but also she has a commercial insight and common sense approach that I really value.‘
Tapestry (formerly known as Coach Inc)
Edwardian Hotels Group
- Advising Unilever across a broad range of legal matters including M&A, antitrust work, IP matters and commercial contracts.
- Representing L’Oréal in a global patent dispute with US company Olaplex, relating to a patent that is alleged to cover L’Oréal’s Smartbond product.
- Assisting Tapestry with the post-acquisition integration of the Stuart Weitzman group, which was acquired in 2015, and the integration of Kate Spade following its acquisition in 2017.
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP’s dedicated sector team takes a broad approach to the retail and consumer industries, acting for a variety of online and offline retailers, manufacturers, shopping centre owners and developers. The practice has notable expertise in real estate mandates, with particular knowledge of retail developments, and is also a go-to name in the market for luxury brands through the experience of practice head Carol Osborne; key clients include Estée Lauder, Anthropologie and Space NK. Richard Shaw, who is the firm’s EMEA head of technology and commercial, also contributes to the group and has expertise in product distribution issues, manufacturing work, licensing and franchising matters, and labelling mandates.
Other key lawyers:
Westfield Europe Limited
BCA Trading Limited (British Car Auctions)
Casual Dining Services Limited (Bella Italia, Café Rouge, Las Iguanas, Oriel and Belgo)
The Foschini Group (Phase 8)
Space NK Limited; Space Brands and US subsidiaries
ThreeSixty Group (portfolio of over 20 owned and licensed brands)
- Advised ThreeSixty Group on the negotiation of master cooperation and license agreements with Selfridges Retail Limited and Arnotts Limited for a permanent flagship store at Selfridge’s London and Arnotts Limited (Ireland) as well as online retail with both organisations.
- Advising Tesco on the strategic and high-profile installation of an electric vehicle charging network, under which nearly 2,500 chargers will be installed at Tesco stores across the UK.
- Handled significant commercial matters for a range of Estée Lauder brands, including Aveda, Le Labo, eShop World, Jo Malone, Bobbi Brown and Clinique.
With a client roster of leading national and international brands and retailers, Gowling WLG's team draws on all of the firm’s practices to provide a full-service approach to its retail clients; example include Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, The Hut Group and KFC. Christopher Hunt leads the group and splits his time between London and Birmingham; he specialises in real estate mandates and regularly acts for corporate occupiers. Katie Swaine and John Coldham are key contacts for IP work, Jocelyn Paulley focuses on commercial, IT and outsourcing matters, with notable experience in data centre issues; meanwhile, recently promoted partner Joe Morris heads up the firm’s proptech team.
Marks & Spencer plc
The Hut Group
Mothercare UK Limited
Metro Bank plc
- Defending The Entertainer and Addo Play against a trade mark infringement and passing off action brought by Maison Battat, a US-based toy manufacturer.
- Advised Coca Cola European Partners on the business and asset sale of a significant bottling facility in Milton Keynes to Refresco Drinks UK.
- Advising The Hut Group on the development of the group’s new content creation studio, ICON Manchester Airport, to expand its in-house content production capabilities.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Under the leadership of Susan Black, who is co-sector lead for the global consumer sector group, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's consumer team acts for a range of high-profile clients, with its roster including many high street retailers and brands including WH Smith, John Lewis, Associated British Foods, Harrods and Lego Group. The group has also recently gained several new clients, with H&M and Cineplex being notable examples. The firm’s full-service approach spans the M&A, employment, IP, competition and disputes practices and the group also advises clients on product liability issues, franchising mandates, data and cybersecurity matters and commercial contracts. Recent highlights include Andrew Taggart, Alan Watts and Veronica Roberts leading the defence of Tesco in equal pay claims brought by thousands of store employees, and Ben Ward and Mike Flockhart advising WH Smith on its acquisition of Marshall Retail Group Holding Company.
WH Smith plc
Associated British Foods (ABF), including Primark
John Lewis and Partners
British American Tobacco (BAT) plc
Mittal Investments UK Limited (Escada SE)
Connect Group plc
Treasury Wine Estates
The Coca Cola Company
H&M Hennes & Mauritz
- Defending Tesco in equal pay claims brought by thousands of employees.
- Advised WH Smith on its acquisition of Marshall Retail Group Holding Company, Inc. for $400m and the associated placing to raise £155m.
- Advising Jimmy Choo on the establishment of a joint venture with Rainbow Modern Trading (Macau) Limited for the operation of Jimmy Choo stores in Macau.
Its ‘top-notch consumer practice represents the sector’s leading players in high-stakes M&A’, according to one client, but Linklaters LLP also handles matters along the entire consumer value chain, with notable expertise in corporate transactions, competition issues, restructuring and insolvency work, and employment mandates. Recent examples include advising Just Eat on its merger with Takeaway.com, and assisting Nestlé with the $10.2bn sale of Nestlé Skin Health to a consortium led by EQT. The team is also a key name in the market for cross-border mandates thanks to its network of offices around the world. Paul McNicholl and Michael Honan jointly lead the group; McNicholl is particularly noted for his M&A expertise, while Honan’s work encompasses corporate transactions, corporate finance work and commercial issues.
‘Strong team – excellent technical knowledge and deep sector understanding. Combined with humour, pragmatism and common sense.’
‘As with all magic circle firms their technical expertise is first class and they work hard to understand our business and our sector. Their stand out quality is their ‘EQ’ and ability to understand client’s concerns and anxieties and advise accordingly.‘
‘That Linklaters is one of the best firms in the world everyone knows. It also has a top-notch consumer practice. They represent the sector’s leading players in high stakes M&A. The firm’s international presence and quality of the different offices is outstanding. Cannot think of any weaknesses.‘
‘Highly responsive 24/7, advice is practical, approachable across levels including partners, highly efficient and they can work across depts. seamlessly.’
‘Michael Honan, the global co-head of Linklaters’ consumer sector, is the gold standard for consumer M&A. Michael is a terrific lawyer, technically gifted and execution-driven. Alex Lehtinen is the firm’s rising star. Any firm would want to steal them from Linklaters.’
‘Simon Branigan takes the time to understand the needs and objectives of the clients, stays involved in the matter as needed, balancing between the role he plays where he can truly add value, as opposed to just billing time. He is approachable and pragmatic, and always shares his point of view with the client.’
J Sainsbury plc
Intu Properties plc
Stonegate Pub Company Limited
Just Eat plc
William Hill Steeplechase Limited
- Advised Just Eat on its recommended all-share merger with Takeaway.com and also handled the defence of a hostile takeover bid from Prosus, which sought to derail the merger.
- Advised Nestlé on its sale of Nestlé Skin Health for $10.2bn to a consortium led by EQT.
- Acted for New Look Group on its £1.4bn balance sheet restructuring.
Mishcon de Reya LLP’s cross-departmental group provides retail clients with a cradle-to-grave service, acting for a roster of FTSE 100 and 250 companies, luxury and fashion retailers, high-profile brands and high street clients. While the group handles the full breadth of retail-related mandates, the team notably stands out for its IP and real estate work, as well as leveraging the firm’s wider dispute resolution expertise. In a recent highlight, the team represented Sainsbury’s in the Supreme Court against Mastercard in proceedings relating to the recovery of interchange fees. The practice also draws on the firm’s brand management business, MDR Brand Management, which was launched in 2018 and offers brand, IP, franchising and licensing support. IP specialists Sally Britton and Lewis Cohen jointly lead the group, which also includes litigator and competition expert Sarah Houghton.
Other key lawyers:
Kering (including Gucci and Alexander McQueen)
Capco (Covent Garden)
Prada and Miu Miu
Ocado Group Plc
Castore / J Sporting Club Ltd
- Represented Sainsbury’s in the Supreme Court in a case against MasterCard, which is the first substantial competition damages judgment to be handed down in Europe and is the leading case on recovery of interchange fees.
- Advised British premium sportswear brand Castore on its major endorsement and partnership agreements with Andy Murray and his brand management company 77 Management.
- Advising longstanding client Capco on its £2.6bn Covent Garden real estate portfolio.
Pinsent Masons LLP
The ‘professional and motivated’ retail and consumer group at Pinsent Masons LLP is a key name in the market for corporate and real estate transactions and has notably grown its data protection and technology work within the retail sector. The group regularly works with start-up businesses and brands on investment issues and corporate matters. Private equity expert Tom Leman heads the practice, which counts Tesco as a key client. Other names on the roster include Silentnight, Sweaty Betty and UP Fitness. From the firm’s national network, Manchester-based Samantha Livesey handles technology and data mandates, and Iain Connor and Florian Traub in London contribute their IP expertise to the group. The team also draws on the firm’s global offices on cross-border highlights.
‘Sam Livsey makes herself very available and has walked alongside the business as the needs have changed. She has offered helpful billing solutions and is always a pleasure to work with.’
‘The team are exceptional at bringing in experts to cover off all aspects of complex M&A work. All individuals are professional, motivated and always put the clients interests first.‘
UP Fitness Limited
WIT Fitness Limited
Motor Fuel Group
Booker Direct Limited
Headlam Group Plc
Grant Thornton UK LLP
- Acted for Tesco on its first investment in an early stage technology company – Trigo Vision.
- Advised WIT Fitness, a sports retail e-commerce business with a flagship store and gym facility in Central London, on its £2m investment from VGC Partners.
- Advising Silentnight, the UK’s largest manufacturer of beds and mattresses, on a significant amount of IP-related work.
Slaughter and May
Slaughter and May stands out in the market for its corporate transactional expertise, with recent mandates including advising Ocado Group on its online grocery retail joint venture with Marks and Spencer Group, and assisting Walmart with its buy-in and subsequent buy-out of the Asda Group Pension Scheme with Rothesay Life. Corporate department head Andy Ryde and Sally Wokes jointly head up the consumer and retail group; other key practitioners from the corporate team include Nilufer von Bismarck and Robert Innes. Beyond corporate work, the firm has also handled pensions issues, disputes, IP and IT mandates, restructuring matters, financings and real estate transactions for a client roster that includes UK high street names and large global consumer groups and retailers; the team also acts for specialist fashion brands and food and drink companies.
Marks and Spencers
Watches of Switzerland
Compagnie Financiere Richemont
- Advised Ocado Group on its online grocery retail joint venture with Marks and Spencer Group.
- Advised Walmart on the buy-in and subsequent buy-out of the Asda Group Pension Scheme with Rothesay Life Plc, one of the largest buy-out transactions in the UK to date.
- Advised Watches of Switzerland Group and its principal shareholder on the IPO of Watches of Switzerland.
Bird & Bird LLP provides ‘consistently even-handed and commercially astute advice’ through the firm’s retail and consumer group, which is divided into three distinct sub-groups, focusing on the food and beverage; luxury, fashion and retail; and hotel and leisure sectors. While the practice utilises the firm’s leading technology, data and IP expertise, the group also has further niche experience in wellness-related matters, consumer law and retail technology issues. The group is also involved in high-profile corporate mandates, and recently advised Mothercare on its major restructuring and refinancing. Graeme Payne, who advises on franchising, distribution and supply chain arrangements, heads up the UK retail team and is co-head of the international group; Mark Abell leads the franchising, licensing and multi-channel strategies practice; Robert Turner handles commercial transactions and regulatory compliance work; Ian Edwards focuses on technology transactions, and Gabriel Voisin specialises in data mandates.
‘The B&B team bring an extremely high standard of domain expertise, paired with strong commercial acumen that has been invaluable for us as we have negotiated a major contract with a much larger and better-funded party than us. Having B&B in our corner put us on a level footing in the negotiations, and their pragmatism has been appreciated throughout.‘
‘Their approach to working with startups stands out, as they are able to easily flex to provide different levels of support depending on timescale or budget, which is unusual compared with other firms.‘
‘Bird & Bird’s retail franchising practice has been of great assistance to us as we forayed into international franchising. They have great expertise in both food & beverage business and international franchising aspects. Their breadth of experience allows to advise not only on strictly legal matters but also provide strategic and commercial view.‘
‘Graeme Payne personally participated in all discussions/ negotiations and demonstrated great attention to our business needs and comments. He was reasonable in negotiations which allowed to execute the documentation quickly.‘
‘Commercially strong and pragmatic team. Good breadth of knowledge and a consistently strong standard of support and advice.‘
‘Bird & Bird LLP is one of the best law firms / advisers that we have worked so far. They are effective and efficient. They are able to provide accurate advice and overcome any problem that we have faced.‘
‘Bird & Bird’s commercial team are an asset to work with – always ahead of the curve and provide clear, concise jargon fee information. Compared to other firms, we have always preferred their seamless and progressive style. From an in house perspective, we embrace law firms and teams that are able to understand our business and contracts efficiently and apply sound legal judgement – all things that Bird & Bird excel at.‘
‘The Bird & Bird team have been able to provide us with consistently even-handed, commercially astute advice as we have worked to build our brand locally and internationally, while navigating the disputes which go with the work. The maturity in approach translates into a commercially astute partnership with a firm which understands our needs and the markets in which we operate globally.‘
Aspinal of London
- Advised Mothercare plc and its wholly owned subsidiary Mothercare Global Brands on a major restructuring and refinancing.
- Advising Costa on the separation of its IT arrangements from its former parent company, Whitbread Plc, following the acquisition of Costa by The Coca-Cola Company.
- Advised Pret on its distribution and logistics arrangements for the UK, reviewing, updating and redrafting the existing contractual documentation, and advising on the negotiation of new documentation.
Burges Salmon LLP assists a client roster of high-profile high street clients, with notable examples including John Lewis, Waitrose, Starbucks and the Co-operative Group. The group has been active in restructuring and insolvency mandates, IP issues and corporate transactions; it recently advised BDO as administrators of Bathstore on the sale of a portion of its assets to Homebase Rooms. Matthew Sims leads the retail practice and is also head of the real estate retail sub-group; other key names include IP and sports group head Jeremy Dickerson, commercial team leader Helen Scott-Lawler, Andrew Eaton, who leads the corporate restructuring and insolvency practice; and Chris Worrall, who focuses on competition mandates.
Causeway CGP Limited
Co-operative Group Limited
John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners
Benefit Cosmetics Group
- Advising BDO LLP as administrator on the sale of certain Bathstore.com Limited assets to Homebase Rooms Limited including 44 stores, intellectual property and stock of Bathstore.com.
- Advising John Lewis Partnership as a member of its panel on commercial, employment and real estate matters.
- Acting as Victoria Secret’s global litigation counsel, outside of the US, handling all IP litigation except infringement disputes in North America.
As part of the firm’s sports, retail and tech practice, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s retail expertise spans the full spectrum of issues and includes some niche aspects of the retail sector including advertising and marketing work, sponsorship matters, allergen protocols and procedures, influencer agreements and e-commerce mandates. The team includes Jason Saiban, Edward Craig and Michael Powner. Saiban leads the wider sports, retail and tech group and handles commercial contracts, Craig heads up the retail and leisure practice and regularly acts for luxury retail brands, while employment partner Powner is a go-to name for food and beverage sector clients. Mary Bagnall also contributes her IP expertise to the group, which counts high-profile retailers including Nike, Converse, Caffè Nero and Cadbury on its client roster.
Other key lawyers:
‘The people i have met and worked with at CRS have a genuine care and respect for your case or situation.‘
‘A real strong team and egos left at the door.‘
‘Ed Craig, a real grasp of luxury not just the legal issues but the importance of the big picture across IP and retail.‘
Stonegate Pub Company Limited
Al Tayer Group
H&M (Hennes & Mauritz)
Australian Manuka Honey Association
- Acting as Nike’s prime legal advisers in the UK.
- Advising Value Retail on a wide range of projects including multiple strategic partnership and marketing agreements, marketing campaigns and handling the alteration of a group funding programme.
- Acting for Caffè Nero on all its employment and commercial work and advised on an outsourcing, manufacturing and supply agreement.
With expertise across a wide range of retail matters, Hogan Lovells International LLP notably excels in real estate transactions, acting for many landlords and tenants in the retail sector. In a recent highlight, the group has been active in advising King’s Cross Central on the development of Coal Drop’s Yard, a retail and leisure destination at King’s Cross, which opened in late 2018. For real estate mandates, key practitioners include Jackie Newstead, who leads the real estate industry sector group, Daniel Norris, who leads the global practice, and Oliver Chamberlain, who heads up the UK real estate group. Other departments which contribute to the firm’s retail expertise include the IP, corporate, competition, product liability, finance, employment and tax practices.
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 retail and leisure destination at King’s Cross Central (KCC), which opened to the public in October 2018.
- Advised Fortress Investment Group on its £95m acquisition of the Majestic Wine retail and commercial businesses from Majestic Wine PLC.
- Acting for Russell & Bromley on issues arising from all the English properties in its portfolio.
As a core sector focus for the firm, Lewis Silkin LLP’s retail, hospitality and leisure group acts for a mix of luxury brands, high street retailers and independent retailers. It offers substantial experience across IP and brand management mandates, employment and immigration work, commercial and technology contracts, franchising issues and real estate transactions. The practice is particularly singled out for its presence in the luxury and lifestyle space and launched The Collective in early 2019, an initiative aimed at luxury retail clients which encourages collaboration and networking between companies in the luxury and lifestyle sectors. Newly promoted partner Julia Poulter and Oxford-based managing associate James Walters jointly head up the practice; Poulter handles real estate issues and Walters focuses on employment work.
‘Lewis Silkin have been incredibly helpful and have supported us through a number of challenges. Lewis Silkin have been instrumental in supporting all of our different stakeholders including brand partners and designers to ensure that we are set up for success. Lewis Silkin manage our IP and advise us on what does and doesn’t need to be followed up on – we find them fair and that they don’t make work where it is not necessary.’
‘In-depth knowledge of industry practice from the angle of a range of practice focus areas.‘
‘The team are extremely professional, approachable, knowledgeable and fully understand what we would like to achieve and how best to approach it. They have their finger on the pulse, industry aware and have become a leading voice across many sectors, sharing valuable insight with clients and beyond. They have a clear passion for what they do and this comes through their work and conversations you have with the team.‘
‘The team provides very pragmatic and commercial advice. They are always responsive and address exactly the legal question/concern that is being raised.‘
‘Despite being a relatively small team, they have great experience and competence on all matters we need on both a “day to day” basis and for those “one off” projects. We have worked with LS for a number of years and we are confident that all our legal commercial property requirements can be and are met. The people we deal with are all extremely personable and capable. The service provided by the legal team generally is nothing less than, if not more, than you would expect from a large London firm.‘
‘The team is thoughtful, have taken the time to fully understand and know our business, they are people and relationship centric and always give advice that takes into consideration our business context.‘
Marks & Spencer
- Acting for Dyson in a comparative advertising and trade mark infringement dispute against major US-based competitor Euro Pro, makers of Shark cleaners, in relation to a Shark advertising campaign in the UK.
- Representing Canada Goose in a restraint of protester action targeted at its flagship commercial retail premises.
- Advising the Vivienne Westwood Foundation on brand protection matters.
Under the leadership of Gary Assim, the retail group at Shoosmiths LLP excels in real estate mandates, restructuring work and administrations, employment issues and data protection matters. The team advises Boots on all matters relating to its English, Scottish and Northern Irish real estate portfolio, and also handled the CVA of Monsoon Accessorize. Assim focuses on IP matters, Beth McArdle in Birmingham handles corporate occupier real estate work, Solent-based Stuart Lawrenson advises on employment issues, and Kirsty Black and Wayne Nash are Manchester-based real estate litigators. Other key names include corporate partner Sanjeev Sharma, who is based in the Thames Valley office, and Ellis Gardner-Browne in Nottingham, who handles transactional mandates.
Other key lawyers:
WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC
Krispy Kreme (UK) Limited
Hobbs Fashion Holdings Limited
British American Tobacco UK
Walgreen Boots Alliance Group of Companies
Mountain Warehouse Limited
The Restaurant Group Limited (TRG)
Monsoon Accessorize Limited and Accessorize Limited
RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP
McDonald’s Restaurants Limited
The Foschini Group
- Advising Walgreen Boots Alliance Group of Companies on all matters connected with the management of the client’s English, Scottish and Northern Irish real estate portfolio.
- Advised Monsoon Accessorize on its CVA.
- Advising longstanding client McDonald’s on a broad range of issues from licensing its estate for late night opening, urgent product recalls, commercial contracts, dispute resolution, franchising and intellectual property infringements.
Taylor Wessing LLP counts a variety of high-profile brands on its client roster including consumer products, fashion and luxury brands, retailers and food and beverage companies. The group leverages the firm’s wider areas of expertise to handle technology and data mandates, IP and labelling issues, reputation management work, supply chain management mandates and sustainability matters. Group co-head Edward Story is a key contact for clients in the food and beverage sector, including Burger King and the Casual Dining Group, while fellow co-head Jason Rawkins also leads the firm’s fashion and luxury team. Litigator Katie Chandler and Graham Hann and Siân Skelton, who both focus on commercial and technology issues, also contribute to the practice.
‘Katie Chandler is a real star.’
William Grant & Sons (Glenfiddich, Drambuie, Hendrick’s)
Intu Properties Plc
Casual Dining Group
Rutland Partners LLP
LDH (La Doria)
Harry’s of London
Hilton Food Group Plc
Ritual Technologies Inc.
- Managing William Grant & Sons’ global trade mark portfolio, dealing with the filing and registration of trade marks and prosecution matters.
- Advising Selfridges on the redevelopment of its property at 388-396 Oxford Street, a prime retail unit with office space above, located directly next to its flagship store.
- Advised Vinted, Europe’s largest online international C2C marketplace dedicated to second-hand fashion, on its €128m Series E round financing
At Travers Smith LLP, the retail sector group is led by corporate and equity capital markets specialist Adrian West, and also includes Dan Reavill, who leads the commercial, IP and technology department; Louisa Chambers, who handles IP and technology work; Ben Chivers, who focuses on commercial contract issues; and restructuring and insolvency expert Edward Smith . The cross-departmental approach covers national and international mandates for a client roster that includes food retailers, luxury brands, consumer goods companies, online retail businesses and retail investors; notable examples include Pret, Carpetright, Selfridges Retail and Trainline.
Selfridges Retail Limited
Boparan Restaurant Group
- Advised PwC as the administrator of homeware and fashion retailer Laura Ashley on the sale of its brand to US restructuring and investment firm Gordon Brothers.
- Advising longstanding client Pret on all aspects of its data protection needs.
- Advising longstanding client Carpetright plc on its recommended cash acquisition by Meditor Holdings Limited.
The ‘modern, forward-looking and flexible’ retail, leisure and distribution practice at Browne Jacobson LLP is a key name for real estate-related mandates and is jointly led by real estate specialists Caroline Green and Sarah Parkinson in London and Nottingham respectively. The group’s client roster encompasses luxury brands, retailers, leisure operators, distributors and franchisees; with key examples including LVMH, Boots and PureGym. Beyond real estate, practitioners in the firm’s technology, commercial, corporate, dispute resolution, employment and competition teams also contribute to the firm’s retail work; and Alex Watt and Declan Cushley have notable advertising and IP knowledge respectively. The team is also singled out for its expertise in social influencer marketing work and related social media issues.
‘Working with Browne Jacobson suits our business extremely well due to their highly commercial mindset. They understand our business well, its needs and priorities. They are able to translate technical legal matters in a way that is clear and meaningful to us. Their response times are fast and we work closely with a small number of their team who we therefore know very well. Our business is expanding globally and Browne Jacobson are able to connect us to their network of law firms in other territories where this is needed.‘
‘Declan Cushley – we have a long standing relationship with him which means he understands the needs of our business as it grows extremely well.’
‘The team at Browne Jacobson are diligent, responsive and are not afraid to challenge or bring to the table a different view. Our partnership is under pinned by the support offered and the advice is always of the highest order. Our relationship is built upon trust and willingness to deliver a best in class service, the team is refined and everybody is on point, follow up is key and forward thinking is at the fore. In my experience this is the best team I have ever worked with.‘
‘Good practical knowledge of retail from both landlord and tenant perspective.’
‘Modern, forward-looking and flexible – the ability to provide a top quality service across the country.‘
LVMH – Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Walgreens Boots Alliance
The National Trust
Sunrise Records (HMV)
- Advised Paperchase on its CVA.
- Assisted PureGym with its £350m acquisition of Fitness World.
- Acted for Sunrise Records on its acquisition of 100 HMV stores.
Clyde & Co LLP ‘provides a high-quality service’ to clients across the entire retail and consumer life cycle, with substantial expertise in real estate mandates and property litigation. The team handles property work for a variety of high-profile clients including Dixons Carphone Warehouse, Kingfisher and Five Guys. David Wyatt leads the retail and consumer practice and assists with all elements of retail property portfolio work, while Keith Conway is the key contact for contentious real estate issues. The group can also leverage the firm’s wider employment, dispute resolution, personal injury, corporate, IP, insurance and IT departments on mandates across the UK.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team provide us with a high quality service. They are always ready to answer our queries and give us support on any legal matters.‘
‘David Wyatt has been working with our company for many years and has a deep knowledge of our needs and the company’s philosophy.‘
Dixons Carphone plc
Zara Vastgoed BV
C & J Clark International Limited
Joe & The Juice
- Advising Dixons Carphone Warehouse plc on all property re-gears, renewals, new leases and property litigation across a portfolio of up to 1,300 stores in England, Scotland and Wales.
- Advising Kingfisher plc on a range of property issues relating to B&Q and Screwfix stores.
- Assisting Five Guys with all its property mandates.
With a particular focus on the fashion industry, Fox Williams LLP takes a cross-practice approach to advise a client roster of high street and online retailers, which includes Bentley 1962, Seraphine and Mondottica. Practitioners from the commercial, IP, corporate, employment, real estate and dispute resolution departments contribute to the firm’s expertise. Practice head Stephen Sidkin focuses on commercial and technology issues and Simon Bennett handles IP work. The firm also has notable expertise in the restaurant, fast moving consumer goods and travel sectors; Rhys Griffiths leads the travel team and joined the firm from Fieldfisher in 2019.
‘Excellent knowledge of the law and all its implications, excellent ability to explain it clearly to the customer, excellent capacity to understand the customer needs.’
‘Partner Steve Sidkin has never left any question unanswered and has been available to talk at any hour if urgent. The strategy he has designed for us has been a winning one and the result has exceeded our expectations.‘
‘Knowledge, Background, and approach from both a commercial and legal perspective.’
‘Stephen Sidkin, is without a doubt the “go to”person within the legal profession in terms of advice for all matters relating to Agency and Distribution law – his manner and professionalism are truly outstanding, and as such, I would not hesitate to recommend him to my peers.‘
Bentley 1962 Ltd and Brandlogic Ltd
James Johnston & Company of Elgin Limited
Gordon Bennett International Limited
Aden + Anais, Inc.
Mycoskie LLC (t/a TOMS shoes)
Loake Bros Limited
- Acting for Bentley 1962 Ltd and Brandlogic Ltd in a High Court trade mark infringement dispute against Bentley Motors relating to Bentley Clothing.
- Advising Séraphine on several fashion law IP matters including acting for the luxury brand in a High Court design infringement claim against JoJo Maman Bébé for unregistered EU and UK design right infringements.
- Advised Mondottica on the reorganisation of certain of its channels to market and put in place revised agreements with agents and distributors.
Harbottle & Lewis LLP acts for a range of retail and fashion clients across a variety of mandates including brand management and IP issues, commercial contracts, corporate transactions, real estate issues, employment matters, litigation, technology and data mandates, and reputation management work. The group is also active in sustainability mandates and social media projects. Sandi Simons and Melanie Benson jointly lead the cross-practice group; Simons handles contentious claims and Benson focuses on real estate issues for luxury brands, designers, retailers and model agencies. Marian Derham is a key contact for employment mandates and Michael Lister advises on commercial agreements and advertising and IP matters.
‘Very friendly and approachable.‘
‘Kind, understanding and helpful.‘
‘Michael Lister and his team made me feel important, valued and some how that I was adding value to the firm by bringing things to their attention. It is a very unique and special way of creating a working dynamic where everyone feels they have a place and is empowered.‘
Victoria Beckham Limited
Astrid & Miyu
Wolford London Limited
De Beers UK Limited
Marylebone Cinema Limited
Take-Two Interactive/Rockstar Games
Arch Light Cinemas
- Acted for Harrods on multiple employment law issues, including the successful defence of an unfair dismissal claim and the successful settlement of a further complex discrimination and unfair dismissal claim.
- Advised Selfridges on the redevelopment of part of its department store in central London to install a multi-screen cinema and underground bar.
- Advised Rosemary Water on a wide range of matters including its advertising and marketing to consumers, brand ambassador arrangements, corporate structuring and investments, and distribution arrangements in Europe.
K&L Gates LLP
K&L Gates LLP’s retail expertise primarily sits in the firm’s IP and technology department and the team focuses on trade mark, design and copyright matters, portfolio management issues and brand and technology transactions. The practice is also active in issues involving social media elements and social influencers. With knowledge of the fashion, luxury goods, retail and consumer spaces, clients include Nike, General Mills, Thomas Pink and TripAdvisor. Arthur Artinian heads up the group and handles matters at a national and global level; he recently advised Coty on its licensing and collaboration deal with Kylie Jenner. Beyond the firm’s IP expertise, the retail offering also draws on the firm’s corporate, commercial and real estate departments.
General Mills (Yoplait, Haagen Dazs, Green Giant, Cheerios)
Renzo Piano Building Workshop
- Acting in Nike’s appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union (and the hearing at the General Court) regarding the invalidation of the iconic Converse sole design.
- Advised on Coty’s $600m global licensing and collaboration deal with Kylie Jenner.
- Assisted with Mr Men’s global licensing and collaboration project with the Spice Girls and the launch of Little Miss Spice Girls.
Squire Patton Boggs' multi-practice team handles mandates across the full spectrum of the retail sector, with notable expertise across IP, advertising and marketing work, corporate transactions, data protection and technology issues as well as employment, real estate and restructuring matters. Key areas of specialism for the practice include the food, clothing, health and charity retail sectors; the practice has also recently launched a dedicated retail Brexit and trade service. Employment specialist Matthew Lewis leads the global practice from Leeds; other key names include Leeds-based real estate partner Prew Lumley, who is vice chair of the retail industry group; London-based IP expert Carlton Daniel, and Simon Jones in Birmingham, who handles technology projects.
‘I’ve been impressed by the practical and commercial advice provided by Squire Patton Boggs. Unlike other firms, I don’t worry that the firm is looking for billable hours but rather spends the time to understand the business need, works with clients to contain costs and avoid surprises.‘
‘My primary dealings are with Carlton Daniel who has been a great gatekeeper to the firms resources, knowledgeable about our business and ultimately customer-centric when proposing services. I’ve found him to be always available, responsive and a pleasure to work with.’
The Co-operative Group (Co-op)
AS Watson (SuperDrug, Perfume Shop and Savers)
Signet Trading Signet Jewellers Ltd.
- Advising Pets at Home on a new project to design and implement the new automated systems for Pets at Home’s new national UK distribution centre, which will replace all existing facilities.
- Appointed to the legal panel for the Co-op and supporting it on a wide variety of legal issues from across the UK.
- Assisted a major high street retailer with the restructuring of the retailer’s entire estate of 400-plus stores.
Fielding ‘a very experienced and knowledgeable team, which always provides practical, commercial advice’, Womble Bond Dickinson (UK) LLP’s retail and fast moving consumer goods team leverages the firm’s national network to act for a high-profile client roster including Kingfisher, Specsavers and the Post Office. The group has notable expertise in product liability mandates including product safety issues, compliance work and product recalls. Team head Gavin Matthews focuses on contentious matters, consultant Nicky Strong is a key name for regulatory work, Alistair Walton specialises in operational portfolio management issues, and Christina Tolvas-Vincent leads the retail employment offering.
‘A very experienced and knowledgeable team who always provide practical, commercial advice often on tight timescales.‘
‘Gavin Matthews is both easy to make contact and communicate with.‘
Kingfisher plc (including B&Q and Screwfix)
Immediate Media Company London Limited
Naked Wines Plc and Majestic Wine Warehouses Limited
Atom Bank Plc
- Advising Kingfisher plc on product safety, quality and assurance matters.
- Advising B&Q on the compliance of a wide range of products, ranging from chemical products to lawnmowers, with applicable standards and legislation.
- Acted for Carpetright on the restructuring aspects of its property portfolio by means of a CVA.