Representatives of one of the oldest businesses on the Isle of Man has spoken of its 'special bond' with Shoprite.

It comes following the 'unexpected' announcement that all nine of the island's Shoprite stores have been bought by Tesco - bringing an end to 51 years of trading for the chain which was founded in 1972 by the Nicholson family.

The sale was revealed on Monday and saw a 'number of Shoprite staff' being put at risk of losing their jobs as a result.

Concerns have been raised online about the impact the supermarket chain's purchase could have on the Manx food producers.

Robinson's has now responded to news of the 'unexpected' takeover, saying the company will 'continue to expand' its offering of Manx products.

In a statement, the company said it had been focusing its efforts on supporting its 'dedicated employees' at Shoprite stores and its local suppliers who will be impacted by the sale in the wake of the announcement.

Robinson's has been supplying fruit and veg to Shoprite stores for nearly five decades and currently holds franchises for the fruit and veg departments at all of Shoprite's stores.

It is currently unclear when those franchises will come to an end with Shoprite's nine stores set to transition to Tesco branches over the next nine months.

Robinson's chairman John Horsthuis said: 'Our foremost concern is ensuring that our affected staff members are well taken care of, alongside our local suppliers.

'On a personal note, our family has shared a special bond with the Shoprite family for nearly half a century.

'Rest assured, we have consistently strived to serve the best interests of the island.'

Robinson's is the island's biggest independent fruit and veg retailer but began life as a market stall more than 135 years ago.

Today, the company employs around 195 members of staff and owns a depot and distribution centre at Ballapaddag as well as two flagship stores in Douglas and Braddan.

Managing Director Janna Horsthuis said: 'This transition signifies a substantial change for our family-run business, given our enduring partnership with Shoprite spanning over 50 years.

'Nevertheless, our commitment to promoting locally-grown produce for the island's residents remains unwavering.

'We firmly believe that supporting the Manx economy is paramount, benefiting numerous local businesses in addition to our own.

'To that end, we will continue to expand our offerings of Manx produce through our stores and through our delivery and click-and-collect services.

'It’s our hope that more locally-sourced food finds its way to homes, restaurants, cafes, and government catering sites across the Isle of Man.'