Retail Consumer Products

Retail & Consumer Products

Consumers are becoming ever more discerning. The focus on individual consumers is growing. The emergence of e-commerce offers opportunities for market players such as international retail chains, manufacturers who wish to sell their products directly to consumers, and companies that want to turn big data into smart data. The traditional concept of the ‘shop’ is changing rapidly in response to these opportunities. The combination of online and offline sales is presenting major challenges to manufacturers and retailers alike. What is more, the Authority for Consumers and Markets is making more efforts to regulate unfair business practices, and, in May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. The GDPR gives European regulators the power to impose substantial fines on companies that misuse personal data. The Retail & Consumer Products Team at Houthoff has in-depth knowledge of the retail sector. The inevitable shift towards omni-channel sales will complicate distribution and data processing, and require strategic partnerships and effective chain management in order to create and maintain a level playing field. At Houthoff, our experienced specialists are well-prepared to handle the legal consequences of these developments.

Our expertise within the retail and consumer products sector

More and more of our clients in manufacturing and production are entering into strategic partnerships and participating in joint ventures. They endorse Houthoff’s knowledge of this sector and engage our specialists to structure these new partnerships, taking new business models into account. It is no longer possible to imagine the current economy without digital platforms.

Suppliers often find themselves facing legal and infrastructural challenges. Our retail lawyers advise these parties on smart solutions for such challenges.

The GDPR will require retail chains to critically assess their data processing activities and revise them if necessary. In that context, our Retail & Consumer Products Team will execute thorough compliance processes for large international retail chains and other clients.

Franchise structures can be complex. We advise various parties on this niche area, always keeping in mind both the PR aspects and the relationships between those involved.

Our Retail & Consumer Products Team understands the issues facing industries involving supermarket concepts, electronics, automotives, bicycles, watches, and food/non-food. The players in these industries work closely with our specialists in the fields of M&A, finance, product liability, labour law, tenancy law, privacy law, and IT law. Our lawyers have excellent relationships with other retail lawyers throughout Europe. The integration of this knowledge leads to well-thought-out and practical solutions that can address all stages in the life cycle of our clients' companies.

  • Advised Marktplaats and (part of Adevinta) about the specific requirements for online platforms under the Digital Services Act (EU Regulation 2022/2065) and DAC7 (EU Directive 514/2021)

  • Advised TBAuctions, a Dutch online auction platform on its acquisition of Klaravik, a Swedish online auction platform.
  • Advised Timex Group and its shareholders on the acquisition of a majority interest by The Baupost Group. The existing shareholders of Timex Group retain a substantial interest in the business. Timex Group manufactures and distributes watches under brands as Guess, Versace, Salvatore Ferragamo, Furla and Ted Baker.
  • Houthoff advised Sligro Food Group N.V. with the proposed acquisition of the shares in Exploitatiemaatschappij Wheere B.V. by Sligro Food Group Nederland B.V. This will include the activities of Vroegop Ruhe & Co B.V., consisting of food wholesaler De Kweker, Vroegop AGF and freight company L.A.J. Duncker.
  • Represented Active Capital Company in the sale of FTNON, a Netherlands-based manufacturer of food processing equipment specialized for the fresh cut and thermal treatment of fruit and vegetables, to JBT Corporation, a US-based leading global technology solutions provider to high-value segments of the food processing and air transportation industries. FTNON's USA and China based subsidiaries were, as part of this transaction, sold directly to JBT.

  • Houthoff advised Poiesz Supermarkten B.V., a chain of supermarkets in the Northern Netherlands, on the acquisition of Zorggroep Friesland B.V., sole shareholder of  Van Smaak B.V.. Van Smaak B.V. delivers meals to healthcare institutions and individual customers and has the whole relating process (including the purchase of the raw materials, processing and logistics) in house.

  • Represented Active Capital Company in their acquisition of Lumat International from their previous owners. Lumat is a supplier of High Tenacity Yarn, Polyester, Polyamide, (Nylon), Aramide and Synthetic continuous filament yarn.

  • Houthoff has advised tesa SE on the acquisition of shares in the capital of  Nijkerk-based Polymount International B.V. from its current shareholders. Polymount is active in the business of developing, manufacturing and sale of a producer of self-adhesive ‘twinlock’ sleeves used in printing presses. The new combined infrastructure of Polymount’s Twinlock division and tesa will create opportunities for synergy and growth on a global scale.
  • The growing importance of e-commerce creates conflicting interests between manufacturers or wholesalers and retailers, particularly if these retailers perceive the activities of their suppliers as unfair competition for their stores. Houthoff has supported the franchisees of one of the Ahold banners in working out a solution that seeks to find a solution for this by introducing rules, a compensation scheme and clear rights and obligations for both parties.


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Key Contact

Advocaat | Partner