Clive Beddall, Calais Dave West, whose "duty busting" Eastenders hypermarket in Calais pioneered the cross-Channel booze and tobacco trade, is considering opening in the UK. In an interview to be screened on GrocerTV (Sky digital Channel 642) next Wednesday, the man who spurred a flood of UK shoppers and bootleggers to cross the Channel to take advantage of lower duties on alcohol and tobacco says he is confident his Calais business can last for the next 50 years. And while he would not reveal potential sites for cut price outlets in the UK, West admitted that Greater London was the "probable" area for a launch. He added: "Millions of pounds are spent on liquor and tobacco in the UK so there's certainly room for a discounter like me." But, for the moment, the Eastenders boss, who also operates a tobacco outlet just across the Belgian border, near Ghyvelde, is preparing for his 12th year meeting a pre-Christmas rush of cross Channel shoppers. Although a recent rise in ferry fares had temporarily cut the number of day trippers, causing his sales to fall by 14%, West said the flood of shoppers through the Channel Tunnel showed no sign of abating. "We attract about two million customers a year and, at weekends, we can't take any more money. It's all hands on deck." Responding to appeals from UK retailers for the Chancellor to cut liquor duties, West didn't believe that Gordon Brown would make significant cuts in liquor taxes, despite the protests. "The Chancellor may not increase duty, but he won't cut it. In fact, the tax levels are so high in the UK my hypermarket will be attractive to cross Channel shoppers for the next 50 years. "After all, six thousand people brought Britain to its knees protesting about fuel. And yet 12 million come to Calais to buy, effectively protesting about the liquor prices and taxes in the UK. Yet the Chancellor has not done much about that." He added: "The professional bootlegger is still going to come here, despite ferry fare increases. He will simply throw a bit more margin on to cover his extra costs." Although West estimates that bootleggers account for about 50% of his clientele, he rejects suggestions that the rise in his trade has caused the demise of many licensed independents in England and the south-east in particular. West, who operates within 100 yards of two other cut price liquor outlets near Calais, said: "I don't believe many independents have suffered because of what is going on in Calais. "There are still off licences in Dover." {{NEWS }}