Takeaways – McCarthy Tétrault’s 6th Annual Consumer Products and Retail Summit

McCarthy Tetrault's 6th Annual Consumer Products and Retail Summit was held on February 25, 2016. Here are our key takeaways from the Summit, including practical tips from each of our topics:

Trends and Lessons Learned from Recent Retail Restructurings
Katherine Forbes and Mirella Pisciuneri, Richter Advisory Group

  • E-commerce is here to stay and is key to success, but only as part of a strategy combined with ‘bricks & mortar’ to create a customer experience
  • Vertical integration and comprehensive merchandise planning are critical for reducing costs and improving profit margins
  • Make the most of available consumer profile information, but be mindful of privacy and personal data protection obligations

Real Estate Issues, including the Impact of E-commerce on “Bricks and Mortar” and Leasing Strategies
Charlene Schafer, McCarthy Tétrault
Hillel Abergel, CBRE Limited
Daria Dolnycky, Deloitte Canada

  • Customer experience as opposed to space should now be the main focus
    Interest in retail real estate investment remains significant, including among offshore investors, however what investors are looking for has narrowed
  • The numerous recent significant closures, bankruptcies and restructuring in the retail sector has paved the way for creativity in amending and renegotiating leases

Loss Prevention and Investigation of Fraudulent Activities
Lara Nathans, Trevor Lawson, Andrew Matheson and Genevieve Pinto,  McCarthy Tétrault

  • Consumer products and retail businesses are encouraged to implement a comprehensive loss prevention policy
    Key to investigating and responding to theft and fraudulent activity is having security personnel, who are subject to security licensing regimes that vary from province to province
  • Detaining individuals may give rise to civil and criminal liability, and so where detention is contemplated police should be involved early in the investigation process
  • When dealing with shoplifting, theft or protest activities involving employees, it is essential to assess the nexus between the alleged behavior and work before fashioning an appropriate remedy

Recent Developments in Competition Law, including Compliance Policies, the Display of Prices and Current Priorities of the Competition Bureau
Ian Bies, Don Houston, and Dominic Thérien, McCarthy Tétrault

  • Having credible and effective compliance procedures, implemented in a manner consistent with the Competition Bureau’s updated “Corporate Compliance Programs” bulletin, in place at the time a breach occurs may mitigate conséquences
  • The Competition Bureau continues to focus on representations related to price, including false or misleading representations as to the “ordinary selling price” of a product
  • Online and mobile advertising is another priority area for the Bureau, including deceptive online endorsements, testimonials and consumer ratings and reviews (or "astroturfing")

Product Liability Obligations: Practical Strategies for Managing Consumer Complaints
Christopher Hubbard and Katherine Booth, McCarthy Tétrault

  • Developing a complaint management and response protocol can offer advantages such as building up one’s brand and generating good will with customers, suppliers and regulators alike
  • The advantages of having a system in place include preventing escalation of complaints, minimising legal and reputational risk, and being in a position to defend and respond to legal proceedings in the event they arise
  • The most effective strategies are developed proactively and enable businesses to assess and respond to consumer complaints in a timely and meaningful way, with a view to minimising risk

retail summit takeaways trends



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