Canada’s retail and consumer products sector has been historically robust, responsible for a major share of Canada’s manufacturing GDP and employing millions of people. But the retail sector is also at a critical juncture, as retailers must navigate a rapidly evolving landscape and quickly adapt to changing consumer behaviours and new technologies in order to survive and thrive.
Over the last several years, the traditional retail model has been significantly disrupted by digital tools that have facilitated product purchasing through many different channels, including online and ecommerce. The COVID-19 pandemic rapidly accelerated this shift, forcing insolvencies and putting increased pressure on traditional brick and mortar retailers, while offering new opportunities for the ecommerce space. In addition, consumers have more access to resources at their fingertips to help them research and determine what products to buy and where to buy them.
Whether you are a start-up or a well-established retailer or consumer products company, leveraging disruptive technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain – can help you stay ahead of the trends and harness the most efficient ways to do business, from digitizing the supply chain to enhancing the consumer experience. International retailers are also leveraging technology and online sales data to gauge whether to expand into Canada. And while the COVID-19 pandemic considerably slowed international retail expansion into Canada, there are hopeful new trends that retailing is recovering.
Staying ahead of these trends and understanding how to navigate the increasingly complex retail and consumer products regulatory environment is crucial to ensuring your business is well-positioned to succeed.
How we can help
Osler has extensive experience working with many of the largest and most widely known retail and consumer products brands throughout Canada and around the world, advising on all aspects of their businesses. Our Retail Group is Ranked Band 1 in Chambers Canada, one of the world's leading legal directories, our lawyers regularly advise retailers, distributors, manufacturers and franchisors on the day-to-day business and legal issues they encounter when expanding into and operating in Canada.
We offer a fully integrated team approach to advising our clients and draw on our knowledge and experience of retail operations and our recognized expertise in Canada to provide seamless legal support through all stages of the retail and consumer products lifecycle. We regularly assist our clients in commercial leasing, consumer protection laws, ecommerce initiatives, privacy and data management, labour and employment, franchising, advertising and marketing matters, tax, pricing and distribution practices and branding matters. In addition, we provide expert counsel to our retail clients in their transformational corporate transactions such as mergers and acquisitions and much more. We regularly leverage our leading Insolvency and Restructuring Group’s expertise to assist our clients in seamlessly solving their most complex business-critical challenges.
We have particular expertise advising foreign retailers and franchisors expanding their operations into Canada, helping them manoeuvre through significant judicial, statutory and cultural differences for a smooth and successful entry into the Canadian marketplace. Osler’s national reach – with offices across Canada, including Montréal, Québec – ensures that we have a deep understanding of the unique considerations when expanding into Quebec, including French language requirements, that could impact retail operations. As well, our New York office provides an international focus for those clients wishing to increase their presence north of the border.