The retail sector is changing at a rapid pace. A new reality has been introduced with the advent of Internet sales. The focus on physical stores is increasingly shifting to sales via the Internet and mobile systems. Such trends as omni channelling, pick-up points, shop-in-shops and pop-up stores have become integral to the current retail landscape. Consumers today purchase where and when they want. Ease of purchase is the buzzword and ‘big data’ is playing an ever more important role. At the same time, issues such as sustainability and corporate social responsibility are becoming more important elements in consumer choices. The challenge for today’s (r)etailer is to keep pace with these developments. Increasingly, retailers are in competition with manufacturers who are switching to direct sales. At the same time, the public watchdog, the Authority for Consumers & Market is expanding its supervision of unfair trading practices in the (Internet) sale of consumer products.
A special form of cooperation in the retail sector is franchising. Shop formulas such as Hema, Albert Heijn, McDonalds and Hunkemöller enjoy huge name awareness. The franchise sector is characterised by the enormous diversity of chains and shop formulas, ranging from hotels and supermarkets via clothing stores and eateries through to business service providers. Legal issues often arise at the interface between contract law, landlord and tenant law, competition law and international property law. However, the franchise industry is not only a question of contractual or legal relations between parties; the relationship aspect in fact plays a leading role. Generally speaking, the various parties aim to establish long-term relationships between them.
Just like the retail sector, the franchise sector is constantly changing. On 16 June 2015, a draft version of the Dutch Franchise Code was presented as a form of self-regulation within the franchise sector. Discussions are still underway on the definitive content of the Code. If the parties fail to reach agreement, specific legislation cannot be ruled out.
The Retail & Franchise sector at Banning assists well-known brand manufacturers and large franchise formulas in a wide range of legal and strategic issues. Of course we are involved in traditional elements such as drawing up franchise agreements, the protection of intellectual property, the landlord and tenant law aspects of shop operation and litigating and offering advice on (franchise) disputes, all on a regular basis. However, our specialists also have considerable experience of the latest trends such as pickup points, shops-in-shops, social media and the Internet, in more general terms. We also often receive questions on pricing policy and marketing, the (im)possibilities of Internet sales, exclusive rights, advertising campaigns, managing customer details and unfair trade practices. Our specialists are in the perfect position to offer you advice on all these and other aspects.