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Retail therapy

Publication

What if the CEO asks me about… the latest online customer solutions?

Published on 01 December 2020. By Simon Edwards, Partner and Paul Joukador, Partner

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Nine months of extreme disruption has accelerated retail brands' need to maximise their online shopping experience. With Covid-19 restrictions here to stay for the foreseeable future, and the future purpose of the physical store being re-examined, there is no doubt that online will continue to be a key consumer interface.

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Publication

Data and the trust barometer – the new frontline of retail

Published on 30 November 2020. By Oliver Bray, Senior Partner and Karen Hendy, Head of Corporate

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The inventor of the world wide web has a startup. Sir Tim Berners Lee's company Inrupt has launched Solid, a platform for giving consumers control over their data. Solid keeps user data in a secure locker, or pod, and access can be granted or revoked as needed.

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Blog

Tiers for [GDPR] fears

Published on 26 November 2020. By Jon Bartley, Partner and Harvey Briggs, Trainee Solicitor

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Beware collecting employee data amid lockdowns and changing working patterns

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Blog

Furlough, Act Now to Avoid the Knock

Published on 23 September 2020. By Kelly Thomson, Partner and Robert Waterson, Partner

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As we leave behind the curious summer of 2020, both HMRC and the SFO are readying themselves for the new term. First order of business: combatting corporate misuse of furlough and Covid-19 bail-out funds. According to official statistics released on 18 September, furloughing of staff in the wholesale and retail sector peaked on 24 April at 1.85 million employees - by 31 July, initial figures show 789,000 retail jobs furloughed– a decrease of more than a half since the peak for the sector. Some furloughed employees in the wholesale and retail sector have been returning to work as lockdown restrictions eased, others have, sadly, faced redundancy. As the furlough scheme winds down to a close next month, some employers may be faced with HMRC insisting that their furlough claims amounted to a misuse of – or even fraud against - the scheme.

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Blog

The big transition back to work: how to relieve your stress and anxiety with this simple strategy for self-care with Eric Ho, Bumblebee Wellbeing

02 September 2020

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Negative feelings can have powerful negative consequences on you and your team’s mental and physical health. I’ve observed first-hand how the individuals and teams I work with are coping with lockdown. As the restrictions on physical distancing relax, so their negative feelings of dislocation, uncertainty, and fear have increased. And they seem to be intensifying as many individuals are now factoring in a return to their offices or work premises.

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Blog

Consumer confidence: contact, controls and connections

28 August 2020

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We asked Laura Saunter from trend forecasting giant WGSN (by Ascential) to give her insights on what’s next for consumer behaviour in light of Covid-19. WGSN is the world’s leading consumer and design trend authority, serving the fashion and creative industries with market leading products.

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Blog

The clock is ticking very loudly

27 August 2020

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Brexit may have taken a backseat over the last few months whilst governments and businesses have responded to the impact of Covid-19, but as the final deadline to request an extension to the transition deadline has now passed, Brexit is back fighting for top spot on the agenda. We get an insight from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) on key issues for the retail sector.

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Blog

Roundup of ASA guidance on advertising responsibly in relation to COVID-19

31 July 2020

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Retailers seeking to reference the Covid-19 pandemic in their advertising should be aware of the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) recent guidance and robust enforcement activity in this area.

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Blog

Return of the MAC (clauses) and practical steps for the retail world

31 July 2020

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The Covid-19 crisis is putting Material Adverse Change (or material adverse effect) (MAC) clauses back in the spotlight, none more so than in the world of retail.

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Blog

Force majeure in a retail context in light of COVID-19

31 July 2020

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In general commercial contracts, force majeure clauses can often be overlooked as standard ‘boilerplate’ with little negotiation between the parties. Covid-19 and the disruption caused to businesses has highlighted how important these clauses can be for all types of commercial agreements and we anticipate that there will be significant focus on force majeure wording going forwards.

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Blog

Consumers return to retail. The retail story in China…where are things now?

31 July 2020

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Globally, the retail sector has been heavily impacted by Covid-19. As the epicentre for the outbreak of the virus in January 2020. China is now one of the first economies showing signs of recovery, and retailers are looking to understand the pattern there, in order to help predict how retail will recover (and how long it will take to do so) following enforced store closures and restrictions on people’s daily lives.

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Blog

Livestream shopping: making platform partnerships a success

31 July 2020

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Livestream shopping is a live shopping event – think QVC - hosted by a brand on its own, or a third party website/mobile app. Usually, a celebrity, social media influencer or brand worker demonstrates a product and answers questions from a digital audience in real-time. Viewers are able to immediately purchase the item from an embedded link online. Just like presenters on QVC, livestreaming hosts sell a wide range of products, from apparel and cosmetics to electronics and even cars. In China, live streaming is a wildly popular way to shop, with the market worth an estimated US$63bn to its economy in 2019. (but the technology is starting to catch on in the US and UK too). The first major livestream shopping player emerged in China in 2016 when Alibaba first launched Taobao Live. Since then, platforms like Tmall, Douyin or Xiaohongshu have become key Chinese e-commerce sites and saw a big spike in demand during lockdown as shoppers were forced to shop from home

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Blog

Retail returns in light of COVID-19

31 July 2020

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Many retail businesses have reopened/are preparing to reopen as the Covid-19 lockdown eases. Whilst retailers hope that sales will surge as consumers rush to the shops that they have been unable to visit since March, some fear that a large percentage of transactions will be returns of goods purchased pre-lockdown.

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Blog

Stores in focus; reopenings, safety and single use (plastic) setback

31 July 2020

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With stores reopened, retailers face an unprecedented operational challenge in delivering the retail experience.

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Blog

Furlough fraud and Government clawback: managing the risk

31 July 2020

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HMRC has the right to go back up to five years when considering businesses’ (including retailers’) records relating to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the “furlough scheme”) and will be able to clawback funds which have been claimed in error, or fraudulently, under new powers contained in the Finance Bill 2020, which is expected to become law in the latter half of 2020.

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Blog

Furlough forecast: What kind of employment law claims are on the horizon?

31 July 2020

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As retail workforces continue to be re-organised, what kind of employment claims could be brought by employees in the coming months, in light of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (or furlough scheme) and what can you do in anticipation?

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Blog

Temporary COVID-19 measures in respect of AGMs and other general meetings

31 July 2020

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The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA), which came into force on 26 June 2020, provides temporary measures which enable companies to comply with their legal requirements on holding annual general meetings (AGMs) and other meetings whilst still respecting social distancing legislation and guidance.

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Blog

UK Government introduces “suspension” of wrongful trading provisions

31 July 2020

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In March 2020, Business Secretary Alok Sharma announced that provisions on wrongful trading would be suspended. The move came as part of a wider package of measures that sought to provide assistance to businesses – and their beleaguered boards – experiencing financial distress due to Covid-19. Now set out in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA), which was passed on 26 June 2020, the provisions adapt the wrongful trading regime making directors’ liability for the “relevant period” unlikely.

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Blog

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act – Supplier Terms

31 July 2020

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On 26 June 2020 the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act (CIGA) came into force. The CIGA has made both permanent and short-term changes to the insolvency regime in response to the coronavirus pandemic and its consequences.

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Publication

Retail Compass Summer edition 2020

Published on 28 July 2020. By Jeremy Drew, Partner and Karen Hendy, Partner

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Welcome to the Summer 2020 edition of Retail Compass – our guide to key upcoming legal and policy changes affecting Retail and our thoughts on the need-to-know issues.

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Blog

Restarting your business and implementing Government guidance to support NHS Test and Trace

Published on 02 July 2020. By Jon Bartley, Partner and Victoria Noto, Associate

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In its latest guidance on keeping workers and customers safe during COVID-19 in restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services (23 June 2020), the Government has recommended that businesses operating in these sectors keep a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days. This will assist NHS Test and Trace with requests for that data if needed.

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Blog

COVID-19 Update on Commercial Tenants' Rights Regarding Rent

Published on 29 June 2020. By Sarah Wilkinson, Senior Associate and Catherine Young, Associate

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This blog sets out an update to government intervention affecting commercial tenants in response to COVID-19. We are continuing to field numerous enquiries from tenants seeking advice about whether rent holidays, reductions and other concessions can be obtained in these unprecedented times.

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Video

TerraLex virtual meeting: The new wave of M&A

Published on 18 June 2020. By Neil Brown, Partner and Paul Joukador, Partner

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In this video presentation, RPC's Neil Brown and Paul Joukador meet with Lori Green and Rick McGuirk to discuss issues related to force majeure, frustration of purpose, material adverse change, and how they’ve been impacted and will likely change in the post-pandemic world.

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Blog

Beware the desire to "make hay while the sun shines" – the ASA warns marketers to "think very carefully" before making COVID-19 claims

Published on 17 June 2020. By Sarah Mountain, Senior Associate and Esme O'Hagen, Associate and Samuel Coppard, Associate

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There is no denying the recent popularity of health and wellness trends: As at the end of 2018, the market had an estimated global value of $4.2 trillion. During the current climate, it has understandably gathered even more traction, with consumers increasingly concerned about obtaining and maintaining healthy bodies and minds.

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Blog

Return of the MAC (clauses): renegotiating or exiting your supply chain contracts

Published on 12 May 2020. By David Cran, Partner and Marlon Cohen, Senior Associate

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As more challenges arise from the current pandemic, suppliers and customers in the retail supply chain will be looking at their contracts to see how best to navigate the challenges they face. This may involve reviewing existing supply chain arrangements and seeing if there is a way to renegotiate or exit existing contracts.

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Blog

The ASA bites back – Burger King 'Rebel Whopper' ads ruled to be misleading and in breach of advertising rules

Published on 07 May 2020. By Ben Mark, Partner and Victoria Noto, Associate

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At the start of the year, Veganuary hit the headlines, with the British public challenged to ditch animal by-products in favour of a plant-based diet for the month of January.

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Blog

Give retailers a break, lawyers tell creditors

16 April 2020

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Lawyers have called for a break on winding-up petitions against retailers as they fail to pay creditors due to the outbreak. So far, retailers have been hit with 52 winding-up petitions since the beginning of the year, with the numbers accelerating since the coronavirus outbreak took hold, according to lawyers at RPC.

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Blog

Could I mitigate my losses by using my premises for other purposes?

Published on 14 April 2020. By Catherine Young, Associate

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With the inevitable impact of the coronavirus on retail businesses, many will be looking to mitigate their losses. One obvious way of doing this would be to use their premises, often their single largest overhead, for other uses. But is this possible and what must you consider?

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Blog

COVID-19: The groceries sector - temporary competition law exemption comes into force

Published on 03 April 2020. By Lambros Kilaniotis, Partner and Melanie Musgrave, Senior Associate

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In light of "exceptional and compelling reasons of public policy" arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Secretary of State (the "SoS") has announced temporary competition law arrangements in the groceries sector.

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COVID-19: help for supermarkets and other retailers with competition law compliance in challenging times

Published on 24 March 2020. By Lambros Kilaniotis, Partner and Melanie Musgrave, Senior Associate

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The Government is providing the supermarkets with the necessary comfort, so that they can co-operate with each other in order to keep the shelves stocked and deliveries continuing during the course of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Blog

Transformation and risk – what the future holds for retail

Published on 09 March 2020. By Jeremy Drew, Head of Commercial

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Data, AI, and the impact of Covid-19. Kyle Monk – Head of Insight and Analytics at go-to trade association the British Retail Consortium (BRC) – left plenty of food for thought on the future for retailers, and those who advise them, at a talk delivered last week.

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Blog

And the winner is... that pre-loved dress

Published on 03 March 2020. By Henry Priestley, Partner and Ela Broderick-Basar, Trainee Solicitor

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The recent awards season has seen a new dress-code emerging on the red carpet - wearing clothing either rented or previously worn, in an aim to project a message of sustainability. This reflects trends in the wider fashion world, where sustainability models like rental and resale are emerging fast as brands and consumers look to minimise their impact.

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Blog

ICO revises guidance on timescales for responding to a data subject access request

Published on 19 February 2020. By Jon Bartley, Partner and Joseph Akwaboa, Associate

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The ICO’s guidance has been amended to state that the time limit for a response to a DSAR starts from the day the request is received (even if it is not a working day) until the corresponding calendar date in the next month, instead of the day after the request.

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Blog

Online resale price maintenance practices attract highest fines yet from the CMA

Published on 05 February 2020. By Lambros Kilaniotis, Partner and Melanie Musgrave, Senior Associate

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The CMA announced on 22 January 2020 that it has fined Fender, the guitar manufacturer, £4.5 million for illegal resale price maintenance practices ("RPM").

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Blog

Another successful round for the CMA

Published on 05 February 2020. By Lambros Kilaniotis, Partner and Melanie Musgrave, Senior Associate

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The Court of Appeal confirms that an absolute online sales ban imposed by a supplier on its authorised retailers is illegal.

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Video

Can a super regulator save the High Street?

04 February 2020

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Henry Priestley introduces 'The Future of Retail' - a joint publication with Raconteur and The Times, published on 17 December 2019, where Partner Jeremy Drew discusses the need for a super regulator to help rescue the High Street.

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Blog

Vegans: a new protected group?

Published on 31 January 2020. By Joanna Holford, Senior Associate and Kelly Thomson, Partner

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Retailers would be forgiven for thinking that 2020's Veganuary coincided with a new law protecting all those who participate. Much of the press coverage of a recent employment tribunal case appeared to suggest just that. The true picture is a little more nuanced. Munch on that kale while we fill you in...

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Publication

Retail Compass Winter edition 2020

20 January 2020

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Welcome to the Winter 2020 edition of Retail Compass – our guide to key upcoming legal and policy changes affecting Retail and our thoughts on the need-to-know issues.

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Blog

BrewBlog: Sober ad campaign leaves brewery with an unwanted hangover.

Published on 14 January 2020. By Stuart Harris, Associate

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In response to complaints about an advertisement published by BrewDog Plc the ASA found that the advertisement had breached CAP code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) and ordered BrewDog not to run the ad again.

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Blog

BrewBlog: Sober ad campaign leaves brewery with an unwanted hangover.

Published on 14 January 2020. By Stuart Harris, Associate

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In response to complaints about an advertisement published by BrewDog Plc the ASA found that the advertisement had breached CAP code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) and ordered BrewDog not to run the ad again.

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Blog

The Future of Retail is Green

Published on 12 December 2019. By Henry Priestley, Partner and Harpreet Kaur, Trainee Solicitor

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2019 has been a year of environmental awareness, aptly demonstrated by David Attenborough's Glastonbury appearance and Greta Thunberg's speech to world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit.

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Blog

Can retail drones deliver the goods?

Published on 03 December 2019. By Jon Bartley, Partner and Hannah Ridzuan-Allen, Associate

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A recent flurry of patent registrations provides an insight into how this futuristic technology could soon become a reality for consumers.

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Blog

Dear Legal, can we put a laundrette in store?

Published on 28 November 2019. By Simon Edwards, Partner and Rachael Ellis, Associate

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How should brands navigate a change to their high street store space?

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Changing retail landscape leads to decline in employee numbers

Published on 21 November 2019. By Kelly Thomson, Partner

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The retail sector continues to face change and challenge from every conceivable angle and employment within the sector is following this trend.

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Blog

Queen's speech spells out major environmental changes for retailers

Published on 05 November 2019. By Steven Aitken, Senior Associate

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The recent Queen’s speech laid out major environmental regulatory changes including plans, for the first time, to enshrine environmental policies in law. A new regulator will also be set up to police environmental standards. At a more granular level, retailers will be impacted by the government's plans for a major extension of the carrier bag charge, among other proposed changes.

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Blog

Taking it personally – retailers using hyper-personalisation to target consumers in the digital age

Published on 22 October 2019. By Oliver Bray, Senior Partner and Amber Oldershaw, Associate

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In a modern day society widely dubbed as 'The Digital Age', corporations must compete like never before to capture a fluid market seeking instant gratification.

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Blog

Avatar Alert! ASA uses child avatars to tackle irresponsible ads targeted at children

Published on 15 October 2019. By Oliver Bray, Senior Partner and Victoria Noto, Associate

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The ASA is proactively using avatars (which mimic child-like behaviour) to identify when age-restricted ads (gambling, alcohol, HFSS etc) are being irresponsibly targeted at children. The introduction of this new technology has already had an impact on ad monitoring and enforcement.

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Blog

Visa? Credit card? No - buy now pay later please!

Published on 20 September 2019. By Jeremy Drew, Head of Commercial and Joseph Akwaboa, Associate

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As online customers make their way to checkout, a growing number of retail brands are offering them the "Buy Now and Pay Later (BNPL)" option along with the classic, Visa and Credit Card and PayPal payment options.

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Natasha's law - legislation requiring ingredients labelling on all pre-packaged foods presented in Parliament

Published on 06 September 2019. By Alyson Lloyd, Senior Associate and Ciara Cullen, Partner

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On Thursday 5th September, 'Natasha's Law' was presented in Parliament. This is new legislation which mandates full ingredients labelling on all pre-packaged food.

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Blog

Using was/now price reductions

Published on 03 September 2019. By Oliver Bray, Senior Partner and Nandeep Judge, Paralegal

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A recent ASA decision against Zestify Media has confirmed that a “WAS” price must represent a genuine saving when compared with a “NOW” price. This means checking that sales were actually made at the higher price during the relevant period and ensuring you don't advertise the lower price for materially longer than the higher price.

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