Calais drink stores to close

11 June, 2010

Tesco and Sainsbury’s are aiming to close their Calais drinks stores this summer.

Sainsbury’s La Boutique in the Centre Commercial Auchan will close on June 30 and Tesco said it was in consultation with staff about a closure, although no timescale could be put on it.

Reports from France suggest its Tesco Vin Plus store in the Cité Europe shopping centre could close in late summer.

The decline of the booze cruise, volatile exchange rates, disruption to cross-channel travel services and increased use of the internet are all factors in the closures.

A Tesco spokesman said: “We’re in a consultation process with staff and unions and no final decision has been made. It’s a long process in French employment law to work out what can and can’t be done.

“There’s been a decline in the number of customers from the UK – who are the vast majority at the store – many of whom are using other services such as the Tesco Wine Club. The end of duty-free has also had a big impact on the business.

“It’s also sometimes difficult for people to get to Calais, and we have a stronger wine offer in the UK as well, so it’s for a number of reasons.”?A dedicated website for Sainsbury’s is advising customers that the store will be open until June 30, but to ring ahead for information as stock will be limited.

Reports suggest that part of the store is closed off and there is a very limited range, with heavy discounts expected from June 15.

The big supermarkets were among a host of British companies, including Victoria Wine, Majestic and Oddbins, which attempted to mitigate the impact of mid-1990s booze cruises by opening their own branches in and around Calais.

The Oddbins store operated as a franchise through French-owned Couleur Latitude until earlier this year, and it will reopen as the Calais Wine Superstore on June 15, with no Oddbins connection.

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