Majestic Wine reports rise of ‘Brexit booze cruise’ phenomenon

Specialist wine retailer Majestic has seen a 49% surge in sales at its two stores in Calais in February, its “biggest ever month” outside of the Christmas period, as managing director Joshua Lincoln hails a “new generation of cruiser millennials.”

Majestic Wine has reported a rise in trips across the Channel ahead of the Brexit deadline of 29 March. Its two stores in the French port town of Calais have seen a 49% rise in sales last month, while pre-orders are up 78% for March.

According to a statement put out by the company, Majestic pays for the cost of a Channel crossing if customers pre-order wine worth over £250.

While exchange rates are not as favourable as they were in heydays of the booze cruise in the late 1990s, Majestic still estimates that customers save an average of £3 a bottle. It cited Codorníu’s Brut non-vintage Cava as an example, which retails for £9.99 in the UK but for £3.29 in Calais.

Commenting on the findings, Joshua Lincoln, managing director at Majestic Wine said: “This is a new generation of cruiser millennials. “It’s couples getting ready for their summer weddings now. It’s day trippers from the Scottish Highlands taking on a mammoth trek.

“It’s not necessarily people buying as much as they can, as cheaply as they can. Pre-orders are up 78% and the order value is up too –  these are wine lovers spending the same as they would in the UK, and getting considerably better bottles for it. And they’re doing it now.”

Fellow business Calais Wine Superstore is also experiencing record sales, up 51% since January with pre-orders for March up by 100%.

Speaking to the Guardian, Marco Attard, co-owner of the business, said the store had served two and a half times as many shoppers last week as the same period last year. It also sold the same volume of wine last Saturday than it sold in the whole week last year.

“Since March it has gone ballistic,” Attard said. “It’s all about Brexit. People don’t want to miss out. I’ve been in this business since 1993 and I have never seen anything like this.”

Majestic previously told the drinks business that it was stockpiling around £5 – £8m worth of alcohol in the run up to Brexit, with group chief financial officer James Crawford stating that the company was “in a position to be agile to whatever the market throws at us.”

Last month temporary insurance provider tempcover.com created a digital calculator to calculate how much money Brexit stockpilers could save on wine and beer by driving to France.

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