Waitrose has beaten Sainsbury's, Tesco and Asda to the punch in the Channel Islands.

It is to make its store debut later this year having secured five major sites in a deal with SandpiperCI.

The acquisition of three Checkers and two Safeway stores is expected to be completed in October, subject to approval from the Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority.

SandpiperCI will continue to operate the five supermarkets under licence until full handover takes place early next year. The stores' 480 employees will be offered roles at Waitrose. "There were other interested parties in the sale but Waitrose clearly now has a solid position in the market with all five key stores on the islands," said SandpiperCI CEO Tony O'Neill.

The acquisition follows a two-year agreement under which Waitrose has supplied SandpiperCI with more than 3,000 own-label products.

"I'm delighted we will now be able to bring the full Waitrose offer to the Channel Islands," said Waitrose MD Mark Price.

SandpiperCI was established in 2007 following a £260m takeover of CI Traders by private equity firm Duke Street and real-estate fund management group Europa Capital.