A number of Shoprite jobs on the Isle of Man are at risk as a result of Tesco's purchase of the chain.

That's according to Tim Johnston, the government's minister of enterprise, who was among those briefed by Shoprite ahead of the sale which was announced earlier on Monday - you can read that announcement in full here.

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 means the number of Tesco stores in the island will be increased to 10, including its existing store in Douglas.

Isle of Man Today understands that a number of Shoprite office staff have already been told their jobs could go.

The Isle of Man Government has now responded to news of the sale, confirming that 'a number of' the company's staff are at risk.

Alfred Cannan MHK, Chief Minister, said: ‘While I am saddened that this announcement signals the loss of the local Shoprite brand, one which has provided retail services locally for five decades, I welcome the long term commitment and investment from Tesco into the Isle of Man’s retail sector.

‘I understand that for many years the Shoprite brand has supported the growth of many local food producers by stocking their product lines, from locally produced meat, fish and vegetables, to ales, wines and spirits across over 150 local suppliers. I am keen to see a similar local business partnership continue as Tesco takes over, and have expressed our desire to work with Tesco to sustain this commitment to supporting local producers.

‘The Isle of Man’s retail sector is essential to our Island, and this announcement will mean our community is able to continue to access multi-national brands as well as independent retailers to provide our community with a high-level of service and diverse range of options.’

Tim Johnston MHK, Minister for Enterprise, added: ‘Today’s announcement maintains a level of security and stability for the substantial footprint Shoprite holds across the Island’s retail sector, and will bring a highly valued brand to a wider audience across the whole Island.

'While I too am disappointed by the loss of the historic and well-regarded local brand, I understand the family’s desire to sell the business and welcome Tesco’s appetite to expand their reach into the Island.

‘Shoprite set an example within the sector of putting local suppliers first, and through the Business Agency the Department is keen to work with the Department of the Environment, Food and Agriculture, Tesco and our local food and drink community to maintain this important commercial relationship.

‘We were briefed by Shoprite ahead of the sale and understand there are a number of staff at risk outside the stores, and whilst any announcements that result in job reductions are never welcome, I am heartened by the commitment from Tesco to retain the majority of staff in the immediate term and invest heavily in the existing store network over the next 12 months.

'Business Isle of Man will work closely with both Tesco and Shoprite over coming weeks and months, ensuring that support is available to both business and any impacted staff.

‘The nature of a strong economy means skilled workers are in high demand.

'Therefore it is hoped that any individuals ultimately affected will have a number of opportunities elsewhere on the Island.’

Any businesses worried about the impact of the announcement on their operations can contact [email protected] for support.