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British Booze Cruise Resurgence Expected As Euro Drops Against Pound

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BOOZE CRUISE
The UK's summer of events combined with the European economic crisis is expected to see a return of day trips to the Calais superstores | PA

The British booze cruise is set to make a resurgence as consumers take advantage of the weakening euro.

The UK's summer of events combined with the European economic crisis is expected to see a return of day trips to the Calais superstores last popular in the eighties and nineties, trade magazine Off Licence News said.

Large UK-based retailers including Sainsbury's and Tesco closed their Calais warehouse stores in 2010 as exchange rates made booze cruises less attractive and prices fell in UK supermarkets.

But the two remaining large operators in the northern French town, Majestic and the Calais Wine Superstore, have both benefited from the closure of rivals and retailers believe the current conditions could make the trend popular again.

The Calais Wine Superstore is advertising savings of between £2-£3 on bottles and offering three for £6, the magazine reported.

Off Licence News editor Rosie Davenport said: "The real savings come if you're buying for a big gathering, so people planning Jubilee parties or summer weddings will be particularly tempted.

"Going to France on a booze cruise and filling your boot with bargains was a popular day trip in the eighties and nineties. But with more and more cut-price supermarket deals in the UK and the euro getting stronger, by 2010 the savings didn't justify the journey.

"As the euro begins to nosedive against the pound and cash-strapped consumers look for ways to save money, jumping on the ferry or Eurostar is starting to look more attractive again.

"Hopping across the Channel will become even more appealing in the coming months when the average price for a bottle of wine in the UK is expected to soar to over £5 for the first time - a 45p increase on last year because of tax and inflation hikes."

Calais Wine Superstore joint managing director Marco Attard said: "We've seen a 10% increase in trade in the last few weeks and if the exchange rate goes to 1.35 it will go up by 20%."

P&O spokeswoman Michelle Ulyatt said: "With the falling value of the euro, we would expect to see some uplift in interest for short breaks or day trips to the continent with passengers taking advantage of beneficial rates to stock up in the hypermarkets and supermarkets.

"Over the past few years the strength of the euro has deterred some passengers from hopping over to France just to shop for bargains on alcohol and we've seen a definite trend for people taking slightly longer trips and making the most of opportunities to take a short holiday rather than a quick dash across the Channel.
"As the euro dips we would expect to see an increase in day trip customers who want to make the most of favourable exchange rates for a short shopping trip, in addition to bookings for these longer breaks solidifying as people make the most of deals on hotels and French restaurants."

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