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  • How Black Friday has become retail's grey area

    Steve Sidkin's comment 26 November 2019 11:31 pm

    This year - more than many previous years - Black Friday has the ability to be retail's grey area as the Black Friday concept spreads from at least 22 November to 29 November for many retailers. This is because in doing so it is potentially more difficult for retailers to ensure that promotional advertisements are clear and transparent and that the promotions will not fall foul of consumer protection law. But this http://ow.ly/7ACx30pVum8 may help retailers avoid problems.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Survival strategies for Brexit chaos

    Steve Sidkin's comment 26 October 2019 4:38 pm

    A full spectrum of views. But what seems to have been overlooked by most people both inside and outside the fashion industry is that what each of the May Government and the current Johnson Government negotiated were the terms of a withdrawal agreement. The objective of such an agreement is to set out the terms on which the UK may leave the EU. The negotiation with the EU of a trade agreement for the future is likely to take longer still if the EU's free trade agreement with Canada is an example.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Suppliers' shock at Asos discount demands

    Steve Sidkin's comment 20 August 2019 8:44 pm

    Following on from last week’s hit on its share price which reflected brokers’ fears of the affect on an online sales tax, the discount ASOS is effectively demanding of its suppliers means that it has doubled down on not winning friends!

    The gamble is that suppliers will decide to comply - despite no contractual obligation to do so - and then will decide to stick with ASOS going forwards.

    If, however, suppliers hold the line and refuse to accept ASOS taking the discount, it could exacerbate the share price position.

  • Mothercare to franchise UK stores as sales fall

    Steve Sidkin's comment 26 July 2019 8:50 am

    Usually fashion businesses look to franchising as a way of expanding - particularly overseas. As such, Mothercare's move is innovative. But what will landlords make of it?

  • This week's need-to-know people moves

    Steve Sidkin's comment 7 July 2019 5:59 pm

    Good to see more people moves. It is a healthy indicator of a competitive industry. But will fashion businesses be among the first to take advantage of this week’s Supreme Court ruling which confirms the enforceability of post-termination non-compete covenants in employment contracts?
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Price rises 'inevitable' in the event of a no-deal Brexit

    Steve Sidkin's comment 26 February 2019 11:09 pm

    Your commentators have highlighted understandably the affect of tariffs in the event of a no-deal Brexit. But to look at such an event only through that prism is mistaken.
    A no-deal Brexit is likely to result in adverse GBP currency fluctuation pushing up costs for those brands importing stock. It is also likely to result in disruption at sea and air ports.
    Unfortunately in my experience most fashion companies have not sought to emulate those who have planned (for example, Joules) and will instead take their chances.

  • Discounting up by a third before Black Friday

    Steve Sidkin's comment 22 November 2018 11:35 pm

    Following yesterday's news that Jigsaw was launching its first Black Friday sale, news of increased discounting before Black Friday highlights 2 fundamental issues for the industry:

    1. which fashion business will gain most in turnover but do so by slashing its margin with future implications; and

    2. which fashion businesses will be called out by the Competition and Markets Authority and the Advertising Standards Authority for consumer law infringement.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Debenhams credit insurance cut

    Steve Sidkin's comment 1 October 2018 10:33 pm

    Debenhams' woes mount. Together with breaking news of the sacking of House of Fraser's management by Sports Direct, the need for suppliers and concessionaires to be on guard only increases.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair, Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Debenhams defends its financial position

    Steve Sidkin's comment 11 September 2018 10:16 pm

    If Debenhams cannot convince markets as to its future then it could be déjà vu House of Fraser for fashion brands, suppliers, and concession holders.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Exclusive: Sports Direct offers aid to HoF suppliers

    Steve Sidkin's comment 6 September 2018 10:10 pm

    Whilst it is creditable that a major customer supports a supplier in need, what is not known are the terms of the loan. Further it is the case that as at 29 April 2018 Sports Direct International PLC had on its balance sheet cash at bank and in hand of £40.7m (up from £0.2m on the year before).
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Brands pull stock from House of Fraser

    Steve Sidkin's comment 13 August 2018 10:12 pm

    It would appear that a trial of strength is developing between the new owner of House of Fraser and brands which may consider that they do not need to be in HoF's stores going forwards.
    Addressing brands concerns over non-payment for supplies delivered or net receipts (in the case of concessionaires) following last week's pre-pack might go someway to providing confidence to continue to do business with HoF..
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Robinsons of Bawtry owner to launch 0% finance app for indies

    Steve Sidkin's comment 9 August 2018 10:06 pm

    Good to see technology being used to help retail. However, as a matter of financial services law participating retailers are likely to become “credit brokers” and have to be authorised. This is as a result of a myriad of rules concerning the promotion and sale of credit products which are designed to protect consumers - the very persons intended to be helped by the app!
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • MPs accuse Sainsbury’s/Asda merger of ‘financial fix’

    Steve Sidkin's comment 2 July 2018 10:17 pm

    Whilst the Competition and Markets Authority gives thought to the proposed merger of Salisbury's and Asda, today's news of Tesco and Carrefour planning to combine their respective buying powers can be expected in due course to further squeeze suppliers.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • New EU tariffs to hit US fashion imports

    Steve Sidkin's comment 22 June 2018 10:48 pm

    On the face of it a problem for retailers stocking US lines. and an opportunity for UK brands to take advantage.
    But of greater immediacy is yesterday's judgment by the US Supreme Court that individual US states can charge sales tax on online consumers even if retailer has no physical state presence. This will impact not simply ASOS and Boohoo but also those UK brands that look to sell online into the US rather than have a physical presence there.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Sézane opens first London store

    Steve Sidkin's comment 4 June 2018 10:00 pm

    Good to see Sézane progress from pop up to permanent opening.

    Sézane uses the brand name in France and the UK and enjoys trade mark protection in the UK by way of an International mark that designates the EU. If a deal is reached on Brexit then it is likely that Sézane’s EU mark will be converted on the UK register as an UK national registration. However, if no deal is made then this is unlikely to be the case.

    Sézane and other overseas brands also relying on an international mark that designates the EU should be considering on whether to apply to register in the UK now.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Calvetron Brands goes into administration

    Steve Sidkin's comment 4 May 2018 10:41 pm

    When a company goes into administration, the administrators have to consider the viability of the business. Understandably they will also want to recover monies due to the company in administration.

    But Jacques Vert faces a special situation. Given House of Fraser’s upcoming cva, it could well be that Calverton Brands’ administrators may struggle to obtain the monies generated by Jacques Vert’s concessions in House of Fraser.

  • Indies struggle with payments after tough first quarter

    Steve Sidkin's comment 25 April 2018 10:24 pm

    The payment problems facing indies are understandable. But care is needed. If they continue to trade whilst unable to pay debts as they fall due, directors of indies are exposed to being personally liable.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chiar
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Pure Collection pays out $900,000 in US settlement

    Steve Sidkin's comment 13 February 2018 11:33 pm

    This case shows the power of whistleblowing. But Pure Collection is not the first fashion brand to be accused of such activity.
    Failure to abide by foreign laws can cause problems!
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Pure Collection pays out $900,000 in US settlement

    Steve Sidkin's comment 13 February 2018 11:30 pm

    This shows the power of whistleblowing. But Pure Collection is not the first fashion brand to be accused of such activity.
    Failure to abide by foreign laws can cause problems!
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • House of Fraser boss calls for Brexit clarity

    Steve Sidkin's comment 30 January 2018 11:28 pm

    Irrespective of being in the same boat, there are steps which fashion businesses selling to or buying from overseas (and, in particular, outside the EU) should be doing to prepare for Brexit.
    Putting to one side today's leak from DExEU, what has been studiously ignored is that the UK government may want certain things for Brexit and a transition deal, but without agreement by the EU27 a hard Brexit will result.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • James Sugden, champion of British textiles, dies aged 71

    Steve Sidkin's comment 3 January 2018 6:19 pm

    Eric Musgrave’s description of James Sugden as a champion for British textiles is most apt.
    I remember being shown around Johnstons’ mill at Elgin by James and James Dracup. Although approaching his retirement, James Sugden’s enthusiasm for the manufacturing process which turned raw cashmere into the finest cashmere cloth was undimmed.
    He will be missed by British textiles and the wider fashion industry.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • M&S fashion boss to join White Stuff as CEO

    Steve Sidkin's comment 25 October 2017 10:53 pm

    This move highlights the issues of employee restrictive covenants in the industry http://ow.ly/X5dR30g48zr

  • Retailers caught in ‘discounting epidemic’ in run-up to ‘tough’ Christmas

    Steve Sidkin's comment 3 October 2017 10:20 pm

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on ...........you’ll be a somewhat rare retailer this autumn! (With apologies to Rudyard Kipling)
    Retailers hitting the mid-season sale button can be expected to be followed by a mixture of the application of retrospective discounts to suppliers' invoices and announcement of store closures.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Customs union proposals are 'reassuring' first step

    Steve Sidkin's comment 20 August 2017 9:59 pm

    The points made by Paul Alger are well made. But the UK government presents it's proposal for a transitional agreement without any expressed recognition of:
    1. the difficulties of negotiating such an agreement; and
    2. that the transitional agreement must itself be agreed by 38 national and regional parliaments in the remaining 27 member states of the EU.
    UK fashion businesses should hope for the best but plan for the worst.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Government targets fashion in supply chain crackdown

    Steve Sidkin's comment 27 July 2017 10:00 pm

    Trying to police worker exploitation is difficult.
    Making top fashion brands liable for what goes on in their supply chains carries massive challenges.
    The Modern Slavery Act, with its trickle-down effect into supply chains as brands seek to ensure they can give a clean MSA report, perhaps shows a direction of travel.
    However, seeking to combat human trafficking and slavery through the toothless MSA is one thing, but for example making a brand liable for a failure by a supplier, who is unlikely to be based in the UK, to pay the supplier jurisdiction equivalent of the UK’s national minimum wage is something else entirely, and surely a step too far.
    Mark Watson
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • H&M to unveil Erdem collaboration in November

    Steve Sidkin's comment 16 July 2017 10:25 am

    Another impressive collaboration from H&M. But as with any collaboration key issues are as to ownership of intellectual property created and how to deal with any third party claims of intellectual property right infringement.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Simon Berwin's Brexit warning

    Steve Sidkin's comment 4 June 2017 11:44 pm

    Simon Berwin highlights the issues which Brexit poses for fashion companies.

    Thinking about the issues (http://www.fashionlaw.co.uk/site/fashion_focus/brexiting-the-future-of-fashion-or-a-fashionable-brexit) and planning how best to deal with them will provide a way forward for many.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • The Drapers guide to crowdfunding

    Steve Sidkin's comment 23 May 2017 9:30 pm


    Crowdfunding is a great way not only to raise funds but also engage with and grow your customer base.

    We are also seeing an increase in the use of mini bonds on crowdfunding platforms. These allow companies to raise funds and achieve the same marketing advantages BUT without having to give away any of their equity.

    Daniel Geller
    Associate
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Is the social commerce revolution finally happening?

    Steve Sidkin's comment 2 May 2017 11:35 pm

    Last week half of the latest news items on www.drapersonline.com concerned online fashion businesses. If further evidence was needed that social media has evolved from a promotional channel to a shopping channel in its own right, this was it.

    But with the opportunity which social media offers fashion brands comes risk - primarily in the form of damage to brand.

  • Pressure mounts on retailers as prices fall but costs rise

    Steve Sidkin's comment 6 April 2017 11:32 pm

    As pressure mounts on retailers are we that far away from the next wave to retrospective discounts being applied to outstanding invoices received from suppliers?

  • Landlord concerns over Blue Inc CVA

    Steve Sidkin's comment 14 March 2017 9:30 am

    The Blue Inc CVA is another example of how the insolvency process can place commercial landlords at huge disadvantage when their tenants run into financial trouble, and this is all the more apparent in fashion retail.

    Pre-pack administrations can rob landlords of their rights under the lease, remove their income and financial security, and even prevent them from recovering their property, despite non-payment of the rent.

    The chances are that this CVA will have been a 'fait accompli" with landlords - often a company's largest unsecured creditor - compelled to sign up to unattractive terms, if only to avoid having an empty property and a large business rates liability (thank you ;-) Mr Hammond).

    The highly publicised and drawn-out demise of BHS (to give just one example) is all too fresh in our memories, but here is yet another stark reminder for landlords in the fashion sector, that the law will step in to try and save an insolvent tenant from collapse but often to the severe detriment of its landlord.

    Tom Morton
    Real Estate Litigation
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Can the Modern Slavery Act solve fashion’s ethical crisis?

    Steve Sidkin's comment 16 February 2017 7:20 pm


    Whilst the Government is not currently willing to police the accuracy of the statements, there are activists who will take it upon themselves to investigate and then name and shame fashion retailers who produce inaccurate statements.

    The legislation, activist scrutiny, and the power of social media will in practice force larger retailers to raise their game to tackle human trafficking by producing accurate statements on which proper due diligence has been carried out. In this way the enforcement vacuum in the Act will be filled. Smaller retailers will be forced to follow suit.

    There will also be the trickle-down effect of the necessary due diligence. Proper due diligence will not be limited to the supply chain itself. Instead it is inevitable that proper due diligence will require every supplier to a fashion retailer (for example, shop cleaners and logistics providers) to conduct their own modern slavery enquiries.

    Parissa Torabi
    Associate
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Blue Inc property deals prolong administration

    Steve Sidkin's comment 25 January 2017 9:41 pm

    Spare a thought here for the landlords of insolvent fashion retailers, of whom the article makes no mention.

    They are often the company’s biggest unsecured creditor, yet most of their legal rights to protect their position under the lease are taken away by the tenant’s administration.

    Administrators now have to pay rent to landlords on a pro-rata basis whilst the tenant company trades (thanks to a recent –and welcome – Supreme Court judgment), but the landlord could be left with an empty space, and a hefty rates liability, at any time.

    Tom Morton
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Amazon and Forever 21 circle American Apparel

    Steve Sidkin's comment 5 January 2017 11:22 pm

    If Amazon proceeds and succeeds with offer it will certainly have the ability to make America[n Apparel] great again!

    Whilst there may be certain issues with such a trade mark, Amazon’s financial resource could impact American Apparel’s competitors in the US and elsewhere.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • UK model agencies found guilty of price-fixing

    Steve Sidkin's comment 19 December 2016 10:53 pm

    The claim by the modelling agencies the subject of the CMA’s decision that,

    “The Agencies did not collude with the aim of forcing up or fixing prices to the detriment of consumers, acting instead to protect the interests of models and also ensure a sustainable market which benefits customers, the economy and society.”

    is understandable. It is one of the few ways in which the fixing of prices may be lawful. But even so, it can be a difficult argument to sustain as it depends at least partly on there being no other way to achieving the same result of benefiting consumers.

    Irrespective of this, the question now is whether the CMA will use this decision to look further into the fashion industry in order to determine whether other infringements of competition law are occurring.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Theresa May to host London Fashion Week reception

    Steve Sidkin's comment 15 September 2016 8:12 pm

    Good to see new PM continue precedent established by last PM's wife. It would, however, be better if new PM ensured that account was taken of the needs of the UK fashion industry in the upcoming Brexit negotiations. Unless this is done receptions at No. 10 will count for little.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LKP

  • Consumer confidence rebounds after post-Brexit slump

    Steve Sidkin's comment 31 August 2016 10:09 pm

    Consumer confidence rebound is to be welcomed. But for businesses not to be planning now for how their supply and other contracts will be affected when the Brexit phoney war comes to an end is to waste a significant opportunity.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Third of retailers to 'shake up' supply chains post-Brexit vote

    Steve Sidkin's comment 3 August 2016 11:37 pm

    A shake up may well be desirable. But how feasible?

    First there is the need to plan an exit from existing agreements in order not to damage the brand and avoid being in breach of contractual obligations.

    Second is the need not only to put new agreements in place, but also to ensure that the correct auditing and compliance checks can happen.

    So by all mean shake up, but take care.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Retailers and suppliers react to Turkey unrest

    Steve Sidkin's comment 19 July 2016 9:58 pm

    The attempted coup was an unwelcome development for many UK fashion businesses sourcing from Turkey. However, it emphasises the need to include in supply (as well as other) agreements a robust force majeure clause in order to ensure that the business does not find itself locked into a contract with a supplier which cannot deliver on time.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Drapers' verdict on the 2015 Christmas ads

    Steve Sidkin's comment 22 December 2015 6:51 pm

    Debenhams' "Found It" may be the least memorable ad. However, Found in Bath may have a different perspective given its owner's ownership of the FOUND trade mark registration.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Sports Direct buys share of Four Marketing

    Steve Sidkin's comment 2 September 2015 2:43 pm

    A strategic move for Sports Direct. But will it result in some brands looking carefully at the change of control clauses in their agreements with Four Marketing?

    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP”

  • Suppliers demand change in law over retrospective discounts

    Steve Sidkin's comment 20 August 2015 10:35 am

    A small business commissioner would be a welcome first step. but it deoends on the powers which are granted. By way of comparison the Groceries Code Adjudicator has still to take substanial action. Meanwhile legislation such as that concerned with interest on late payment of debts is barely observed by industry.
    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • M&S restates online sales to account for £500m of returns

    Steve Sidkin's comment 22 June 2015 9:50 pm

    Failure to take into account the value of goods sold online but returned to stores is not good. But worse still is if a retailer (such as M&S) fails to analyse and then act upon the reasons for why goods sold online are returned – whether or not to store.

    The inexorable rise of online sales means that fashion retailers can steal a march on their competitors if they can (i) determine such reasons and (ii) act upon them.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Brands nervous about Jones credit risk

    Steve Sidkin's comment 17 June 2015 11:38 pm

    Ultimately suppliers have every reason to be nervous in a situation where credit insurance may disappear. Similarly in the case of BHS where in the same issue of Drapers you report that “one supplier [had seen] no movement yet from credit insurers”.

    For credit insurers the issue is one of risk assessment – what can they charge to take on the risk and what will it cost to reinsure the risk. And unsurprisingly credit insurers are in broad terms risk averse.

    For brands supplying retailers where credit insurance may not exist there is no magic answer beyond:
    1. an effective retention of title clause in the sale contract; or
    2. money up front; or
    3. reaching for your lucky rabbit’s paw or similar comfort blanket.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Hotter, Phase Eight and Seraphine win Queen’s Award

    Steve Sidkin's comment 22 April 2015 10:28 pm


    Many congratulations to Hotter, Phase Eight and Seraphine.

    In addition many congratulations should go to Mackintosh which has also won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Editors Comment: 'Nailing tax evaders requires effort. So expect a hike in VAT instead'

    Steve Sidkin's comment 22 February 2015 9:19 pm

    The concern about a possible increase in VAT after the general election is well made. But it is just one of a number of possibilities – none of which make great reading. They include in descending order of likelihood:

    • possible increase in national insurance (aka employment tax);
    • possible increase in income tax; and
    • possible reduction in pension tax relief.

    There again it might be open to the next Chancellor to perm 2 from 3!

    Overall the next Government needs to recognise the role played by the fashion industry as well as the wider private sector economy in generating the wealth that the UK needs.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Chair
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Discounts beyond our control, say brands

    Steve Sidkin's comment 19 December 2014 9:10 am

    Having seen mid-season sales from a number of multiples, the latest concern of indies about current discounting of brands is unsurprising.

    But:

    1. The points made by brands – that they cannot enforce resale price maintenance without infringing competition law – are correct.
    2. Price stability can be achieved to a greater extent when a brand has a selective distribution system is in place. Ironically, however, it is here that some brands do infringe competition law!
    3. Brand integrity is key to maintaining resale price and achieving high sell through.

    Finally where brands are not being discounted it is sometimes because the brand is acting unlawfully by enforcing resale prices. What will be interesting to see is the extent to which the Competition and Markets Authority starts to look closely at certain parts of the fashion industry in 2015.

    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Government slashes international trade show support

    Steve Sidkin's comment 2 November 2014 7:03 pm

    The cutting of Government funding for UK brands heading overseas beggars belief (and see Eric’s editorial comment). Alongside the review sought by Sponsors Alliance, affected brands should be lobbying their MPs and contemplating making Freedom of Information Act requests to discover what was really involved in UK Trade & Invest’s “review of all our programmes to ensure they are more effective”.

    It is also worth bearing in mind that not so many years ago Culture minister Ed Vaizey was reported as apologising to the BFC when the Treasury left London Fashion Week short of funding.

    A case of lightning striking twice?

    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP

  • Upbeat indies vow to resist panic Sales

    Steve Sidkin's comment 12 October 2014 2:33 pm

    With the likes of Hobbs and Whistles now concerningly on mid season sale, the key issue will be whether competing indies can hold their nerve and go to end of season sale as late as possible.


    Stephen Sidkin
    Fashion Law Group
    Fox Williams LLP