18/01/2013

Gordons advice helps Morrisons cook up deal with Lakeland

Advice from Gordons has helped major supermarket group Morrisons agree a new partnership with leading kitchenware brand Lakeland.

The link-up will lead to Britain’s fourth-largest food retailer bringing Lakeland’s creative kitchenware to millions of internet shoppers, as part of its online non-food offering, from spring 2013.

Lakeland has developed a reputation for selling creative kitchenware over 50 years. It was one of the first retailers to diversify into home shopping, through its catalogue business, which began in the 1970s and still continues. The company also now markets its wide range of products, “from everyday utensils and preserving basics to never-seen-before cookware” online and through 60 UK stores.

Windermere-based Lakeland will fulfil orders placed via the site initially, before responsibility passes to the grocery giant.

Morrisons was advised on the deal by Andy Brian, a partner in the corporate and commercial contracts teams at Gordons, which has been principal legal adviser to the organisation for more than 65 years.

The Lakeland site will be the supermarket group’s third fully transactional online presence, following its acquisition of baby care retailer Kiddicare.com in 2011 and its launch of wine offering MorrisonsCellar.com in November 2012.

Simon Harrison, strategy partner at Morrisons, said: “This is a really important strategic step for us and Gordons were instrumental in formulating a legal structure that worked for both parties and negotiating a legal agreement which we’re very happy with. Gordons got us to the right place on time despite a challenging timescale.”

The Lakeland partnership is the latest evidence of Morrisons expanding non-food sales via the internet, which it believes will be the key marketplace for general merchandise in the future.

Commenting on the Lakeland deal, Andy Brian said: “It was a pleasure to help our client make such an important strategic move and to play a key part in the growth of Morrisons.com. We now look forward to seeing the venture succeed, to the benefit of both participants.”