Retailers working with Hi Street Digital (HSD) in-store display screens have been confused by a separate company approaching them asking them to sign a new contract as a “formality”.

HSD, which provides digital screens to convenience stores for free in return for displaying advertisements, advised its retailers not to sign anything from or speak to a company called Convenience Digital Media.

Former HSD shareholders Peter Martin and Jonathan Daniels resigned as directors in September. Richmond Ads, parent company of Convenience Digital Media, was then founded by HSD’s largest shareholder, Huseyin Sanli in November. It is alleged that the former directors named above, plus current HSD Director Rachel Connolly then began to work for Sanli in attempting to win retailers over to Convenience Digital Media from HSD.

Simon Jones also used to work for HSD before joining Convenience Digital Media. Jones emailed HSD customers and requested that they sign a new contract with Convenience Digital Media that would replace HSD as their screen provider. He said this was a “formality” stemming from “a company name change”.

HSD customer Bay Bashir from Belle Vue Convenience (Lifestyle Express) in Middlesbrough said the email from Convenience Digital Media was “all done under false pretences”. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he added.

HSD hit back on Twitter, stating that its retailers have an “exclusive contract” with them that prevents them switching to a new provider.

The new contract sent to retailers by Convenience Digital Media and seen by Retail Express also included an exclusivity clause, creating a contradiction for retailers that have signed a contract with both providers.

Rav Garcha of Nisa Local in Shrewsbury is also a HSD customer. He added: “I’m surprised something like this would happen to a company of this size.”

HSD CEO Paul Mercieca told Retail Express that the issue is “complicated”, but confirmed that Convenience Digital Media is a separate company. He also alleged that the HSD website was taken down by ex staff members now working for the rival company.

Retailers confirmed that the in-store screens are still working as usual. The company is thought to have screens in 250 convenience stores.