Our Retail Team is absorbed in the sector and have specific knowledge key to retailers. From employee issues to lease renewals, IP protection to supply agreements, we have well-informed and industry-aware solicitors to support retailers and their management teams.

Our legal advisers benefit from specific sector knowledge to help reduce risks, nurture growth and support them in developing strategies for success. We have retail clients that represent over 2000 outlets and £300m+ turnover. Our retail experience is enhanced by lawyers whose day-to-day work supports nationally known retailers such as Majestic Wines, Subway and McDonald's franchisees.

We have commissioned research on technology within retail. Click here to download the full report for more insight into the shopping landscape of the future, the challenges that retailers and tech suppliers face, and the solutions that will enable them to unlock success.


Relevant work

  • Ashfords has successfully acted on behalf of management teams and founders of three well-known high street retailers and fashion houses. The team acted for Linda Bennett on her sale of LK Bennett, the team advised the founders of Fat Face on their sale of Fat Face, and advised the founding partners of Gro Group on the Management buy-out and exit from the company. We have also acted for Kilver Court designer outlet in the grant of leases to L K Bennett, Jack Wills, Hawick Cashmere, Mulberry and other designer retailers.
  • Acting as in-house counsel for Majestic Wine in its on-going major store expansion programme. Majestic currently operates from 206 stores and sees the potential to increase its store footprint to 330 stores nationwide. Our Real Estate Team advise Majestic on its expansion plans by securing units of around 3,500 square feet with good car parking in prominent locations generally on main roads outside town centres.
  • Our Employment Law Team has been acting for the franchisees of McDonald’s restaurants for a number of years in the defence of Employment Tribunal claims ranging from pre-proceeding settlement of claims to representation in the Tribunal. In addition to contentious advice, our team of experts help protect their business against costs of employment disputes, prosecutions brought against the business or its employees and representation on compliance and regulatory matters.
  • The team has acted for Subway for over 10 years, achieving many firsts during that time, being the first solicitor to agree leases in a UK airport, a Tesco store an Asda store, a McColl’s and a petrol station forecourt as well as acting on the flagship Subway store on Oxford street. The team has completed leases on over 400 Subway stores.


Mind your step - technology to tackle counterfeit crime

Stewart James, Partner in the Commercial Team at Ashfords LLP, takes a look at how retailers can use technology to tackle counterfeit crime.

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The Future of Virtual Reality

Virtual reality ("VR") has been hailed as the next big thing before, but following Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of start-up Oculus, known for its Oculus Rift VR headset, industry analysts’ predictions that thirty million headsets per year are expected to ship by 2020 seem rather more grounded in (non-virtual) reality.

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The Changing Role of the Retail Salesperson

It’s news to precisely no one that the competition faced by physical stores from online retailers is intensifying. To retain their share of shoppers, bricks and mortar businesses must necessarily evolve.

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The Brexit - What Retailers Should be Aware of

It is now confirmed that a referendum will be held on 23 June to decide whether Britain will remain in the EU and both the yes and no campaigns start in earnest.

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How is Big Data Changing Retail?

Big data can seem like a slippery term, but research out of the McKinsey Global Institute has cited its rather concrete potential to increase retailers’ operating margins by 60 per cent. By now, its utility is unquestioned (at least when properly exploited), but its use poses new risks both to the businesses seeking to unlock its promise and to the individuals whose information is being harvested – namely all of us.

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What’s Next in Retail Technology?

In 2014, a full forty per cent of consumers in PwC’s annual consumer survey declared that they purchase goods from a physical store once a week.

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Drones that Deliver

As we become accustomed to ever-higher levels of convenience, major retailers including Amazon and, more recently, Argos, are offering next-day and same-day delivery. The demand is there, however, for even faster delivery. Enter the drones.

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Where are Virtual Currencies Headed?

In the face of their increasing prevalence, virtual currencies have taken centre stage in debates about transparency and financial inclusion. Bitcoin, as the best-known example, has inspired the launch of many imitators.

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The Evolution of Contactless Payments

The remarkable growth in the volume and value of contactless payments across the European Union is the most obvious evidence of an evolving payments ecosystem.

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Integrating Online and Offline Retail

Flying somewhat in the face of conventional wisdom that an online presence is the be-all and end-all, evidence points to the market expecting not only some form of offline presence from retailers but a smooth integration of the consumer’s online and offline experiences to boot.

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Retail and Technology - Where worlds collide

Gone are the days when buying something involved simply going to the shop, browsing the available products, paying by cheque or cash and then taking them home to enjoy.

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The Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations - do you know what they mean for your business?

In a bid to bolster consumer confidence, new European legislation has been introduced which will require traders to inform customers whether they are willing to use alternative dispute resolution ("ADR").

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Food Companies Provide Hearty Sustenance for M&A

Global M&A activity has increased by over a third in the last twelve months, with the early part of 2015 seeing a dramatic boom in transactions. Of particular note, in the UK more than £20 billion worth of food and drink deals took place last year, according to figures from Catalyst Corporate Finance (CCF).

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Is your business ready for the Consumer Rights Act 2015?

Current consumer law is made up of a lot of different pieces of legislation and places an administrative and compliance burden on businesses. It is also considered to be out of date. The aim of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 ("CRA 2015") is to consolidate current consumer legislation and to provide enhanced consumer protection and consumer remedies.

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The Landscape of Popular Retail Apps

Certain retail apps prove hugely successful while others are found wanting in terms of ease of use and an intuitive user interface. Evidence suggests that, at least amongst millennials, apps are downloaded predominantly because the corresponding mobile website is not as easy to use as the app.

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Crowdsourcing in Retail

Best known among crowdsourcing platforms is the mighty Wikipedia, the number 7 Alexa ranked encyclopaedia, but crowdfunding, ultimately a subset of crowdsourcing that involves garnering money from participants, has been tapped by platforms like Seedrs and Crowdcube to give life to thousands of ideas.

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The Evolution of Retail

Using enthusiastic floor staff to woo them and exciting displays to wow them is at the heart of retailing to customers.

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The Rise of Innovation Partnerships

When US retail giant Target announced last year that it was partnering up with a well-known start-up accelerator, it was making a claim for embracing technology – not merely as an add-on but as the way forward.

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Managing the Try In-store, Buy Online Phenomenon

By now retailers are well aware that shoppers try on items in-store with a view to buying them later online. Similarly popular is the concept of showrooming whereby customers browse the shop but use their smartphones to find cheaper substitutes elsewhere.

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The Risks of Underperforming Retail Technology

Given an increasingly tech-savvy consumer base, retailers are necessarily leveraging the latest technology both in-store and online.

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The Push and Pull Between Data and Privacy

The promise of big data carries with it levels of personalisation and problem-solving that were not envisioned by the general populace even a few short decades ago.

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Beacons and Privacy

In a retail context, beacons are essentially Bluetooth transmitters that communicate with an authorised app when the device housing that app is within the vicinity.

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The Emergence of Beacon Technology

When a shopper arrives at their location – a store, a mall foyer, a commercial square – beacons use Bluetooth technology to alert an app or website on the shopper’s smartphone.

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A Primer on Omni-Channel Marketing

Omni-channel marketing, or simply omni-channel, refers to a holistic or integrated approach to companies’ engagement with their customers.

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Technology and Compliance in Retail

Questions of compliance must be addressed without losing sight of sustainable, profitable and scalable business practices. To meet even higher modern standards of compliance, retailers are turning to technology to ensure they are on top of stock management, health and safety, and the supply chain.

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The Shopping Seasons

Even while maintaining the spirit of the season, it’s impossible to ignore the sheer amount of footfall on the high street as shoppers find something appropriate to put a bow on. Savvy retailers know that Christmas represents merely one of the calendar’s opportunities for outsized sales. Let’s take a quick look at the others.

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Jane Ireland, Corporate Partner at Ashfords LLP, advised the creative team behind Zanzan eyewear, Gareth Townshend and Megan Trimble on a recent equity fundraising.

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Tech in Retail - wedded to contactless payment

The limit on contactless payments has just been raised to £30. However, the results of our survey show that retailers think that the limit should actually have been raised to £40 - £50.

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Consumer Rights Act 2015 - consumer notices

Commercial analysis: Will the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (CRA 2015) tighten up consumer notices? Louise Workman, partner, and Hannah Batten, solicitor at Ashfords LLP, consider the effect CRA 2015 will have on consumer notices.

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Sunday Trading - consultation on devolving Sunday trading rules

The current Sunday trading rules were established 21 years ago in the Sunday Trading Act 1994. These were designed to limit the opening hours of large stores (those with a relevant floor area over 280 square metres/ 3,000 square feet) to 6 hours on a Sunday. Smaller stores are entitled to open all day. However, with a move towards a more secular society over this period and the changes brought about by internet shopping, is there a need for change?

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