Is this the end for the booze cruise?
Majestic Wine has closed its distribution depot in Calais and moved jobs from France to Britain after the weak sterling put paid to that noblest of British traditions – the booze cruise.
According to Majestic’s chief executive, Steve Lewis, people aren’t traveling to France just to buy alcohol; the perception is that it no longer offers significant savings unless it’s for a big occasion, such as a wedding.
Customers at Majestic’s French stores spent 7% less on average over the last year, with the average transaction falling to €222 and the number of transactions falling 27%.
However, the wine distributor’s loss is the ferry companies’ gain; P&O reported a 9% rise in expenditure on alcoholic drinks in its duty free shops and a rise in passenger numbers overall. The company has even introduced a car park shopper’ fare for �10, which allows passengers to make a round trip without disembarking in France to avail themselves of the duty free facilities on board.