The booze cruise could be on its last legs - as three UK alcohol retailers pull out of Calais.
Oddbins Calais, which closed earlier this year, reopened this Tuesday at a site closer to the ferry terminal, but the store is now called The Calais Wine Superstore and Oddbins confirmed its franchise agreement had come to an end.
Sainsbury's is to close its Calais Wine Store on 30 June. The retailer said its joint venture with French retailer Auchan was no longer "economically viable" and that it had explored various options to keep the site open but failed to come up with a satisfactory solution.
"Sainsbury's and Auchan have made the difficult decision to close Sainsbury's Calais," said a Sainsbury's spokeswoman. "Thirteen colleagues have been informed that their jobs are at risk and will be offered redeployment opportunities by the two co-shareholders."
On its website, Sainsbury's is encouraging consumers to bulk-buy six bottles of wine with a 5% discount in its UK stores instead. It is advising consumers to call before heading to the Calais outlet and has cancelled all online ordering as stock is limited.
Tesco also confirmed to The Grocer this week it was consulting over its Tesco Vins Plus site in Calais. The store is expected to close after staff in France have been consulted.
Cheaper prices at home and the pound's slump against the euro have hit UK operators in France hard. This week, Majestic Wine blamed a 28% fall in sales for the year to the end of March in its three northern France stores on the relative strength of the euro.
However, it vowed to stay in France, claiming the duty differential was still wide enough to attract savy shoppers.
Majestic is offering customers a marketing guarantee that they will make a saving of at least £2 a bottle on its UK wine prices.
In March, Oddbins boss Simon Baile predicted a "complete revolution" in the number and size of stores in Calais due to the tough trading conditions.
Oddbins Calais shuts as retailers face end of booze cruise era (13 March 2010)
British deals threaten to kill off booze cruise (22 August 2009)