FFW scores Hennes & Mauritz on Middle East franchise plan

Field Fisher Waterhouse

(FFW) has landed its first role acting for Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) on a multimillion-pound franchising deal in the Middle East.

FFW has represented H&M on a deal which will see the Swedish fashion retailer open 17 stores across the Middle East.

The firm secured the instruction from Saudi Arabian company MH Alshaya, which will run H&M’s Middle East operations, and already manages 28 other retail chains in the region, including The Body Shop and Bhs. H&M usually instructs Ashurst for legal advice in the UK.

The deal is a significant coup for FFW, which has been building on the strength of its franchising group as well as boosting its international capability.

Head of franchising and licensing Mark Abell led the deal, assisted by William Parsole. FFW is also advising H&M on its international brand protection programmes.

Abell told The Lawyer that the firm was approached to act on the transaction off the back of its work advising on a number of global roll-outs for retailers, including Monsoon, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Hamleys and Adams.

He said the firm had also recently closed a Middle East franchising agreement for Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK), operated by AIM-listed restaurant group Clapham House. He was assisted by Graeme Payne on that deal.

“These deals reflect the current attractiveness of the Middle Eastern market,” Abell said. “Franchising offers them a strong strategic approach to this potenitally lucrative market.

“We’re also advising H&M and Clapham House on their international brand protection programmes.”

MH Alshaya was advised by its in-house legal team.