ADM Londis, which operates the Londis fascia in the Irish Republic, is to take legal action against two former directors who have quit the company and switched their stores to a rival fascia.
Former directors Sean Donovan and Dominic Duffy have signed up to the SuperValu and Centra network, operated by Musgrave Group, which owns the Londis franchise business in the UK.
Seven stores, which contribute some 4% of the combined ADM Londis retail turnover of €723m and are based in greater Dublin, are involved. An ADM Londis spokesman said the stores were still "bound by franchise agreements".
Donovan said the matter was not a "major issue" and that not all the stores were under fixed contract. "The larger ones could have been, but the smaller ones were not," he said.