Consumer and Retail

We act for some of the leading UK High Street names and some of the largest consumer companies and retailers across the globe. We also advise specialist fashion brands and food/drink retailers.

The long-established and deep relationships that we have with clients in this sector allow us to provide strategic and commercial advice of the very highest quality. We have developed an extensive understanding of the commercial and legal issues that retail and consumer clients face.

We provide full-service corporate, commercial and financing advice, together with advice across the range of specialist disciplines we practise. Internationally, we work in combination with leading independent law firms around the world whose values, standards and status match our own and allow us to provide clients with a seamless global legal service.

  • The Retail and Consumer group is led by a team of partners with diverse and specialist expertise needed to understand and anticipate the individual legal needs of each client.
  • Our multi-specialist approach means that our team is equipped to handle a broad range of legal matters. This versatility enables us to field fewer people for transactions and to give each client a single point of contact with whom they can build a close working relationship. This allows us to integrate closely with clients to deliver the highest level of service.
  • This core team works closely with specialists from the firm’s other market-leading practice areas where necessary, including financing, pensions, real estate, IP/IT, tax, financial regulation and dispute resolution to provide our clients with a first class service.
  • Our reputation for excellence and client-focussed approach leads to us win some of the largest mandates often with an international dimension.

Key experience

Ocado Group plc

Advised Ocado Group plc, on the establishment of its online grocery retail 50/50 joint venture with Marks and Spencer Group plc. The JV combines M&S's highly regarded branded food and beverage range with Ocado's existing range to offer over 50,000 product lines to consumers. This transaction built on our long-standing relationship with Ocado having advised it on its IPO, its branding and sourcing arrangements with Waitrose, its partnership with Morrisons and on a variety of other capital markets and corporate transactions.

Whitbread plc

Advised Whitbread plc, on the sale of Costa Limited to the Coca-Cola Company for an enterprise value of £3.9 billion. Costa is a leading international coffee brand, with over 2,400 coffee shops in the UK and over 1,400 stores in more than 30 international markets. Coca-Cola is a total beverage company, offering over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories. We provided a full service across this transaction with involvement from the Corporate, Competition, IP/IT, Tax, Real Estate, Pensions, Employment and Incentives and Financing teams.

Marks and Spencer plc

Advised Marks and Spencer plc, in relation to all their UK and overseas franchise and joint venture operations. This included the "Simply Food" brand in the UK and also its international franchising network covering more than 40 countries principally in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The international work we do for Marks and Spencer requires us to adopt an extremely commercial, pragmatic approach which recognises the nature of the day-to-day operational relationships between Marks and Spencer and its franchisees, some of which have been trading under the M&S brand for more than 40 years, whilst ensuring that Marks and Spencer's contractual arrangements with the franchisees provide it with a firm base of protection and are sufficiently flexible to allow for changes in its international strategy. We were able to leverage our market expertise to advise Marks and Spencer on prevailing trends and business models in the global franchising industry and to create the new standard agreement.

Watches of Switzerland

Watches of Switzerland, is the leading multi-channel luxury watch retailer in the UK and a leading retailer of luxury watches in selected regions of the US. We advised the company and its principal shareholder (investment funds managed by an affiliate of Apollo Global Management) on the successful initial public offering of Watches of Switzerland.

This is an example of our considerable experience advising on initial public offerings, rights issues, issues of convertible and exchangeable securities, placings, equity-derivatives, hedging and stabilisation of equity and equity-related products for a number of clients including Royal Mail, Ocado and Prada.

Diageo

Advised Diageo, in relation to the sale of its interests in Desnoes & Geddes and in Guinness Anchor Berhad to Heineken and also on its related acquisition of additional shares in Guinness Ghana Breweries, with a net cash consideration receivable for the transaction of $780.5 million. This allowed our client to increase their focus to their respective beer businesses in Jamaica, Malaysia, Singapore and Ghana.

Household-names to specialist companies choose us to deliver commercial, focused advice on the most complex and high value issues. Our multi-specialist and client focused approach has established us as a trusted adviser to an impressive client list of whom we have advised several for decades.

Key Contacts