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Blog

Influencers and retailers remain under intense ASA scrutiny

Published on 01 June 2021. By Joe Lippitt, Senior Associate and Harvey Briggs, Trainee Solicitor

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Influencers, and the retailers whose products they are advertising, continue to be put under the Advertising Standards Authority's (ASA) microscope for failing to comply with ad rules. The ASA has put influencers and brands on notice after a monitoring sweep of influencer posts carried out last year revealed widespread failures to adequately disclose ad content. Following the monitoring sweep, the ASA has also released practical guidance to help educate influencers and ensure any ads they post are CAP Code compliant.

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Blog

CMA draft guidance has greenwashing in its sights

Published on 27 May 2021. By Ciara Cullen, Partner and Sophie Tuson, Associate

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After launching its investigation into environmental claims last November 2020, the CMA has now published draft guidance to help businesses understand and comply with their existing consumer law obligations when making environmental claims. The draft guidance is open for consultation until 16 July 2021 with the final guidance set to be published by the end of September 2021.

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Publication

What if the CEO asks me about... whether we are all set for an advertising blitz now lockdown is easing?

Published on 24 May 2021. By Simon Edwards, Partner and Paul Joukador, Partner

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As lockdown eases in the UK and businesses start to fully re-open, there has been a significant upturn in advertising. Many brands are urgently rushing to get their advertising out and are looking for the best placement of that advertising.

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Blog

Carrier bag charges to increase to 10 pence from 21 May 2021

Published on 07 May 2021. By Henry Priestley, Partner and Ellie Ward, Associate

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As trailed in the latest edition of Retail Compass, the Government has been planning to increase the minimum charge of single-use carrier bags.

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Publication

Disputes Yearbook 2021: Retail disputes

Published on 04 May 2021. By Jeremy Drew, Head of TMT

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As part of the acclaimed Disputes Yearbook, Legal Business interviewed members of our disputes team exploring the litigation landscape and what RPC brings to the table.

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Blog

Retail Credit rating downgrades - How to stop a downgrade becoming a default

Published on 15 April 2021. By Sukh Ahark, Partner and Edward Colville, Legal Director

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COVID-19 disruption and resulting lockdown measures have particularly impacted some retailers.

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Publication

What if the CEO asks me about... moving to a turnover rent model?

Published on 13 April 2021. By Elizabeth Alibhai, Partner and Simon Edwards, Partner

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On 10 March 2021 the Government announced that existing protections for tenants on non-payment of rent and against landlords' use of forfeiture and CRAR (the ability to sell a tenant's goods where rent is not paid) were to be extended until the end of June 2021.

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Blog

New measures to eliminate plastic waste

Published on 07 April 2021. By Henry Priestley, Partner and Brendan Collar, Associate

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The government is set to introduce measures to further reduce the circulation of single-use plastics and encourage the use of recycled plastic. The measures are expected to influence all aspects of the retail supply chain and have a particular impact on the food and drink sector.

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Blog

The Turnover Rent Condurum: Tips For Retailers

Published on 31 March 2021. By Jeremy Drew, Head of TMT and Karen Hendy, Head of Corporate

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Protections provided to commercial tenants under CIGA and the Coronavirus Act 2020 are due to end on 31 March 2021 and now, more than ever, landlords are having to explore the possibility of entering into non-standard leasing arrangements.

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Publication

Asia: How staying-at-home has driven retail F&D collaborations

Published on 25 March 2021. By Jeremy Drew, Head of TMT and Karen Hendy, Head of Corporate

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Recent social unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated the emergence of a new “stay-at-home economy” for groceries and fresh produce in Hong Kong.

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Publication

Coming to America: United States market entry tips

Published on 18 March 2021. By Jeremy Drew, Head of TMT and Karen Hendy, Head of Corporate

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Most global retailers have contemplated entering the United States market – possibly just because of the sheer scale of the market. American retailers rang up almost $5.5 trillion (£4.1 trillion) in sales in 2019. Plus, for luxury sellers, the US market makes up a huge portion of overall global sales. Additionally, the impact that American consumers have on worldwide traditional and social media is tremendous, which amplifies the value of their purchases of your products.

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Blog

Sunak's new Super-Deduction – now is the time for retail investment?

Published on 15 March 2021. By Ben Roberts, Partner

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A significant measure with the potential to benefit the retail industry was announced by the Chancellor last week as part of the Spring Budget. This will take the form of a new 'super-deduction', available from April for a limited 2-year period.

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Publication

Time for action on abusive card charges

Published on 11 March 2021. By Jeremy Drew, Head of TMT and Karen Hendy, Head of Corporate

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Eyes will be on the British government in 2021 to start paving a new and substantially different pathway for the UK which holds enough merit to justify the upheaval, bitterness and loss caused by its advocacy and delivery of Brexit. One relatively uncontroversial area is the reform of regulation governing retail payments in the UK.

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Publication

New year, new strategy – what to expect in a post-pandemic retail landscape

Published on 04 March 2021. By Karen Hendy, Partner and Jeremy Drew, Partner

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Most importantly, retailers and brands must be ready to change and evolve to meet the rapidly shifting demands of consumers.

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Blog

What if my CEO asks me about…. whether employees need to be vaccinated before coming back to our premises

Published on 25 February 2021. By Patrick Brodie, Partner and Jon Bartley, Partner

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With Monday's announcement from Boris Johnson, and the vaccination programme gathering speed, you will, hopefully, soon be re-opening your stores and offices, bringing more of your colleagues back to work.

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Publication

Retail Compass Spring edition 2021

12 February 2021

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Welcome to the Spring edition of Retail Compass. We present our guide to the key upcoming legal and policy changes affecting Retail and our thoughts on the need-to-know issues - as retailers look forward to a post-pandemic landscape.

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Blog

Dry January? No/lo drinks to start 2021

Published on 26 January 2021. By Ciara Cullen, Partner and Elizabeth Zang, Trainee Solicitor

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The popularity of no/lo drinks has skyrocketed with no/lo drinks toppling craft beer as the UK's top tipple in 2020 (the SIBA British Craft Beer Report 2020).

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Blog

What if the CEO asks me about... protecting our supply chain?

13 January 2021

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The interlinked and complex nature of modern global supply chains make them vulnerable to a range of risks, including multiple potential points of failure and slimmer margins of error to account for delays or disruptions. The COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with Brexit, have created a once-in-a-generation test of supply chain planning, agility and flexibility for retailers and their suppliers. While these circumstances may lead to a revisiting of supply chain strategy and optimisation in the long term, short-term actions will need to be taken to meet the immediate challenge.

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Blog

Buy Now Pay…after Christmas? The ASA's new guidance on BNPL advertising

22 December 2020

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The ASA has published detailed guidance to retailers when advertising delayed payment services (Guidance), often called Buy Now Pay Later products (BNPL).

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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

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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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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 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, Head of IP and Tech 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

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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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Blog

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 TMT

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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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