Retail Compass Autumn 2022

Published on 12 October 2022

Omnichannel and the Metaverse – how can retail and consumer brands harness their potential?

Welcome to this bumper Autumn edition of Retail Compass, where we guide you through key upcoming legal and policy changes affecting Retail and Consumer Brands and provide our thoughts on those crucial, need-to-know issues.

The sector is facing obvious market challenges and there is also a growing trend of the regulatory climate in the UK hardening. This has been particularly noticeable with an increased use of criminal summonses to promote regulatory compliance. 

We look at several new regulations affecting Retail and Consumer Brands including those around greenwashing, oncoming restrictions on promotion of HFSS products, how to prepare for Extended Producer responsibilities for packaging, and actions taken against Resale Price Maintenance practices. We also cover an array of topics about other matters affecting the sector including the proposed Online Sales Tax; where next for Buy Now Pay Later; achieving net-zero aspirations; and much more besides. We also take an in-depth look at some of the challenges and opportunities for Retail and Consumer Brands arising from omnichannel offerings and the Metaverse. 

Alongside our horizon scanning pieces and other developments, we have guest contributions from Kris Hamer, Director of Insight at the British Retail Consortium, who reflects on some of the headwinds faced by the Retail industry over the past few years and the creative and innovative opportunities they create and from Jade Macpepple-Jaja and Nicole Russell who discuss the role of influencers in social commerce.

We also include key statistics and links to our legislation tracker which list all of the UK Government consultations and inquiries relevant to Retail and Consumer Brands. 

We hope you find this publication useful, and as always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any comments or queries.

Headline legal and policy developments

Extended producer responsibility for packaging: How to prepare

In the Spring 2022 edition of Retail Compass, we reported on the Government's consultation on regulations covering extended producer responsibility (EPR) which places the financial burden of dealing with packaging once it becomes waste on producers as opposed to taxpayers. Read more

Where to next for Buy Now Pay Later? 

On Monday 20 June 2022, HM Treasury responded to its consultation on proposals to extend regulation to unregulated Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) products. This consultation closed in January 2022.  The Treasury's response confirmed the scope of regulation will cover BNPL products and short-term interest free credit (STIFC) provided by third-party lenders.  Read more

Online Sales Tax: the right way forward? 

On 25 February 2022, HM Treasury launched a consultation exploring the possible introduction of an online sales tax (OST) to address the imbalance resulting from the higher business rates applying to in store retailers, compared to online businesses. The consultation closed on 20 May 2022. Read more

It's a supermarket sweep as HFSS products face sweeping promotion and placement restrictions

In an attempt to tackle obesity in the UK, in particular childhood obesity, a swathe of restrictions on the placement and promotion of HFSS products in-store and online will be introduced in phases from October 2022 to January 2024. Read more.

Greenwashing: UK regulators set their sights on misleading green claims with an increasing focus on sectors such as fashion retail and F&D

UK consumer regulators, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), are ramping up their enforcement of green claims to protect consumers from 'greenwashing'. Read more

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