British retailers could face a massive slump in alcohol and cigarette sales if the European Union backs a test case allowing shoppers to buy products from Europe over the internet and pay the duty at the local, rather than the UK, rate.
The EU Court of Justice will decide on November 23 if it will back the move, changing the rule that shoppers have to personally accompany goods bought overseas on their journey to avoid paying excise duty at the final destination. An advisor to the court has already backed the change.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "If this is allowed to go ahead it will be a disaster. If it's legalised retailers will be forced to act on an entirely uneven playing field. All eyes are now on the authorities."