In June, Majestic reported a dramatic downturn in sales from its three outposts on the other side of the Channel, and closed its Calais DC, shifting a dozen jobs back to the UK. But while the plummeting pound was blamed, it is the depth of below-cost supermarket promotions that have really scuppered the viability of the booze cruise.
New research by The Grocer shows that alcohol duty or no duty is now more expensive in France than on a trip to the local supermarket even if the destination is the Calais branch of Tesco or Sainsbury's.
Foster's, John Smith, Carlsberg, Corona, Smirnoff and more all now cost less in the UK than overseas.
Factor in the cost of the ferry trip, the petrol, and the shopper's time, and it becomes clear trips to France for the sole purpose of cramming alcohol into every nook and cranny of the car, are destined for doom. The worry for independents is that shoppers may soon no longer even travel to the corner shop.