Approximately 650 convenience retailers leasing electronic displays from collapsed supplier The Shoppers Network (TSN) could each be left more than £9,000 out of pocket.
Under the original agreements, retailers paid between £255 and £299 a month to lease the screens from White Oak (formally called LDF), and received ‘airtime payments’ from TSN, which sold space on the screens to advertisers, to offset the bill. However, when TSN collapsed, retailers were stuck paying off the 36-month leases with no incoming payments. Shop owners collectively lost £185,000 in January alone as a result of the missing payments for the month.
Dharmesh Mepani, of Premier Ormskirk Road in Wigan, lost £765 as a result of the collapse. He told RN: “I signed a contract in February last year, and I’m trying to settle the issue.”
An email from TSN general manager George Dural in January blamed “business circumstances” for the collapse. Approximately half of the 1,400 screens affected are in independent convenience stores.
However, RN has discovered that former TSN staff have set up a new company – Rhino Media Group (RMG) – and are aiming to recruit the store owners previously partnered with TSN.
RMG managing director Jonathan McBride pledged to RN that his new firm would compensate losses for January and begin supplying airtime payments for stores that switch to RMG.
“We will begin making payments from 28 February,” he said. “We’re asking anyone who’s missed a payment to contact us because we’ll compensate them if they sign an agreement with us.”
A White Oak spokesperson added: “We entered into an agreement in good faith with a third-party broker to provide finance agreements for media screens. However, upon learning that customers were experiencing issues, we have been working with all parties to ensure affected customers are assisted in the transition to Rhino Media Group. We will continue to monitor the situation.”
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