UK: Regulatory Outlook 2018: Focus on Consumer Products and Retail

Last Updated: 6 March 2018
Article by Ros Baston and Thuong Nguyen

In our recent blog – General Regulatory Outlook 2018, we pointed out that the "good corporate citizen" agenda is progressing and will be trending in 2018. This agenda will be even more relevant and topical for the consumer products and retail sectors who, partly due to their close and constant interaction with the public, are facing increasing investor and consumer pressure to act ethically.

At the same time, the digital era with the Internet of Things and other advances in products and services has brought a stream of new and revised regulations as governments try to protect consumers without hampering innovation.

We've pulled together the headlines on EU and UK developments, as a brief overview of what's coming up across certain key themes:

  • The good corporate citizen
  • Consumer protection
  • Product safety
  • Marketing & advertising
  • Other matters

If you're interested in an item, you can click through here for a little more information and a timeline.

The good corporate citizen – under the public gaze

Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Large private and voluntary sector employers (with >250 employees) are due to publish the first annual report on gender pay gap by 4th April 2018. The report may require employers to carry out a substantial audit of their workforce. Some companies have already published the report and they are attracting significant publicity.

Waste Management: Both the EU and the UK government have put considerable effort recently to commit to reducing waste and encouraging recycling. Key measures, such as the EU plastic strategy which will likely be adopted by the UK, may transform the way producers and retailers package their goods.

Modern Slavery Statement: As the supply chain of the consumer products and retail sectors can be complex and often opaque, companies should consider whether they have conducted adequate due diligence on their suppliers to meet their desired ethical standards as the second Modern Slavery Statements become due.

Consumer protection – a focal point in the digital era

Consumer Protection Directives: These won't have to be transposed into UK law as they won't come into effect before Brexit and the UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 is broadly aligned with the proposals, but any differences between the UK and EU law may result in increased compliance costs.

Payment Services Directive 2: This directive which came into effect on 13th January 2018, has an impact on a wide range of industries and sectors. Retailers, now banned from charging customers fees for the use of payment methods such as credit cards, may also need to notify the Financial Conduct Authority if they intend to use the exclusion for limited cards such as gift or fuel cards. Marketplaces / online platforms who connect buyers and sellers may no longer be able to use the commercial agent exclusion and need to either obtain a licence from the FCA or partner with an authorised payment service provider.

Geo-blocking Regulation: This is likely to apply only after Brexit, and will prevent online sellers from discriminating against customers from other EU countries.

Cross-border Parcel Delivery Regulation: Once this regulation comes into effect, parcel delivery providers (including retailers who operate an in-house delivery service) with more than 50 employees will have to provide clear information on prices and complaint procedures to their customers. They also need to report annually to the national authority on the number of employees, number of deliveries, etc.

Product safety – innovation under the spotlight

Novel Foods Regulation: From 1st January 2018, suppliers need to verify whether the goods they intend to place on the market may fall within the widened scope of the regulation.

Organic Products Regulation: This regulation is expected to take effect after Brexit. UK producers will need to comply if they want to export to the EU market.

Spirit Drinks Regulation: Spirit drinks produced and placed on the market after the application date (yet to be finalised) will need to conform with the updated requirements on labelling and the geographical indications registration procedures.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Regulation: From 21st April 2018, manufacturers will need to issue a Declaration of Conformity with each PPE and obtain compulsory EU Type Examination Certificates which last for maximum 5 years.

Gas Appliance Regulation (GAR): Revises the current framework and expands the scope to include air conditioning, laundry and alternative fuel sources. This regulation will come into effect from 21st April 2018 with the exception of Article 43(1) on penalties, which will apply from 21st March.

Compliance and Enforcement Regulation: Not yet finalised - requires appointment of a responsible person and market surveillance for numerous non-food products to the EU.

Draft UK Code of Practice on Corrective Actions and Product Recalls: Businesses need to ensure they have a plan in place to ensure effective monitoring, assessment, notification and correction of unsafe products. This is expected to be finalised in early 2018.

Marketing & advertising – data at the heart of the business

Draft E-Privacy Regulation: Aligned to the GDPR, this has a wide impact on retail sector, marketing and website owners. It includes changes to cookie consents and direct marketing requirements where retrospective consent may be required for existing users. Date of finalisation has not yet been confirmed.

Ban on sexual portrayal of under-18s and Rule on gender stereotypes in ads (ban in place; consultation on rule expected in spring 2018): recent movements such as Time's Up or #MeToo have heightened public scrutiny and regulators' expectations on sensitive and controversial issues which might have been overlooked in the past. A bad reputation on these issues may cost companies far more than the investment lost in the advertisement production.

Other matters

Court ruling on distribution of luxury goods: A recent ruling by the European Court of Justice may support brand owners' requests to stop their distributors from using 3rd party online platforms, such as Amazon or eBay, as this practice may be seen as damaging to the luxury goods status.

EU Trade Secret Directive: Coming into force on 9th June 2018, this Directive may not be adopted by the UK government as the substance has already been broadly in line with existing UK law. However, any differences may have an effect on UK manufacturers and retailers operating in the EU.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions