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Retail & Consumer Markets

Consumer & Retail Advisor  Consumer & Retail Advisor Blog

Retail & Consumer products companies have recently had to steer through a recovering yet uncertain economy while operating in an increasingly competitive, dynamic and global industry. Success in the new norm means knowing how to manage brand and market profile while dealing with shifting consumer trends, price pressures, the need to improve operational efficiency and the advent of new technology such as mobile commerce and social media.

McCarthy Tétrault’s Retail & Consumer Markets group brings together lawyers from multiple disciplines that work with clients across a range of industry segments, from clothing and household goods to grocery, personal care, cosmetics, luxury goods and electrical products. We partner with leading companies in Canada, the US and internationally, offering a "one-stop shop" to meet their requirements for business law, labour & employment, real property, intellectual property & branding, tax, internet & e-commerce, product liability & recalls, consumer warranty & protection, trade & customs, corporate reorganizations, competition/anti-trust, and corporate litigation.

Being a full-service national law firm, we are also able to draw upon our expertise in a number of related industries, such as food & beverage, agribusiness and technology in order to meet our clients’ broader legal needs.

Having long-standing relationships with policymakers in Canada, we additionally assist retailers and consumer products manufacturers and distributors in identifying promising foreign markets and developing entry strategies that overcome market obstacles. Similarly, we leverage our relationships and expertise to assist companies with their strategy and legal issues in entering the Canadian market.

Some clients we have worked with include lululemon, Canadian Tire, Costco, Starbucks, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hertz Canada, Colabor Group Inc, Tim Hortons, Sephora, Fruits & Passion, The Putting Edge, The Bata Shoe Organization, Staples Canada, Harry Rosen Inc, Mister Transmission International and Leon’s Furniture Limited. We have also advised consumer product manufacturers and distributers such as Pepsi, Unilever, Corby Spirit & Wine Limited and Kraft.

Beyond our legal expertise, we are active in numerous industry associations such as Food & Consumer Products of Canada, Retail Council of Canada, International Council of Shopping Centres, Advertising Standards Canada, Canadian Franchise Association and Retail Industry Leaders Association. We are on the inside of information flow – which is key in keeping our clients ahead in a dynamic industry-scape. In addition, McCarthy Tétrault is proud to be a fully bilingual firm for clients who need French-language assistance.

Our wide range of expertise includes:

  • Canadian entry – strategic legal advice for new and recent market entrants.
  • Trade and cross-border matters, imports, tariff, customs valuation and product labelling. We have a solid understanding of the workings of Canada Border Services Agency.
  • Tax advice, including GST & HST, M&A, corporate finance, and reorganizations.
  • Real property, including leasing, acquisition, disposition, financing, development, zoning & planning, land transfer, parking taxes, municipal tax assessments, occupancy, contracts, reciprocal easement agreements and the Competition Act.
  • Privacy & data protection, security, consumer protection, domain names, internet and e-commerce, marketing, advertising, and contests and promotions.
  • Labour & Employment, including unions, regulatory issues, human resources, immigration, workers compensation, and insurance.
  • Acquisition & Disposition of retail businesses, consumer products businesses and business assets.
  • Branding and Trademark, copyright and patent acquisition, licensing and enforcement, including registration, opposition, infringement, and breach of license matters, as well as issues related to manufacturing advertising, contests, promotions, and business method patents.
  • Public companies advice, such as disclosure documents, securities law compliance, stock option and compensation plans.
  • Payment systems and loyalty programs, supply chain management, manufacturing agreements, strategic alliances, RFP processes, and supply & services agreements.
  • Franchise law, including franchise systems, disputes, brand & business reputation, trademarks, supply chain and distribution systems. We specialize both in devising brand strategies and defending class actions.
  • Litigation, including a wide range of class actions such as product liability, recalls, price-fixing, product marketing, promotion, labelling and advertising improprieties, export restrictions, service disruptions, litigation franchise disputes, and breaches of provincial consumer protection legislation.
  • Technology & licensing, outsourcing, development services contracts, hosting contracts, managed services agreements, consulting services agreements and hardware acquisition contracts

For more information, please contact:


Kara L. Smyth
[email protected]
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Anne-Marie Naud
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Lara Nathans
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Godyne N.L. Sibay
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David Frost
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Miranda Lam
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