Canadian Lawyer InHouse

October/November 2021

Legal news and trends for Canadian in-house counsel and c-suite executives

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18 www.canadianlawyermag.com/inhouse FEATURE AS THE retail industry slowly recovers from pandemic-induced lockdowns, retailers are seeking new ways to attract consumers and meet changing needs in the new shopping landscape. E-commerce saw a tremendous boom amid store closures, but shoppers are now flocking back to brick-and-mortar stores searching for an enhanced in-store shopping experience. Legal departments remained front and centre throughout store closures and the reopening phase to guide their businesses, Driving the omnichannel experience Retailers leverage pandemic learnings to enable innovative ways of reaching customers mitigate risk, and ensure compliance with all national and provincial laws and legislation. Vancouver-based outdoor gear retailer, Mountain Equipment Co-op, has seen a renewed interest from customers keen to get outside after months of lockdowns, so the demand for products such as bikes and tents was enormous this past summer. "A lot of our products are flying off the shelves, and we're working very hard with our vendor partners to replenish these products as quickly as we can, especially in the challenging supply chain environment that we're currently experiencing," says Catherine Lau, general counsel at MEC. Throughout the reopening phase, Lau worked closely with internal stakeholders, including HR, retail operations and marketing, to monitor evolving health and safety requirements such as store capacity limits and make regular updates to an internal COVID-19 playbook. In collaboration with HR, the legal team also developed and updated its work-from-home policy and vaccination policy. "Our mission is to inspire and enable everyone to lead an active outdoor lifestyle, so we will continue to do so by providing our members an immersive omnichannel experience." Catherine Lau, MEC

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