MAR Shopping Algarve to open this week
MAR Shopping Algarve is about to open this week, with the welcoming moment scheduled for Thursday, October 26th. The new mall is an initiative of IKEA Group and is expected to be a major attraction of Algarve, for shopping and leisure. The opening was originally scheduled for September but it was later postponed for about a month to “ensure the quality of the infrastructure”, according to Herman Gewert, the centre’s general manager.
The shopping is built in Loulé, near Faro and in a central position in Algarve, strategically placed next to the A22 highway, or “Via do Infante” as it is locally named. It has been known as “the new IKEA” since it’s inception, but in fact it is way more than that, much the way modern shopping malls are going to
Numbers are impressive:
- 200 million euros of investment (178,5 million pounds at current rate)
- 110 shops and brands
- 000 jobs generated, directly and indirectly
- 82000 square meters of building (about 20 acres)
- Outside leisure area, with 8.000 square meters (about 2 acres)
- 3500 parking spots
This will also be the first commercial development project in Portugal to include simultaneously shopping, outlet (the new Designer Outlet Algarve) and outside leisure space. Apart from IKEA, people will find NOS cinemas, Starbucks, Primark (a store with 4500 square meters), Giovanni Galli and many others, as well as the most common restaurant options, like McDonald’s.
Loulé MAR Shopping: a strong Swedish move
The new infrastructure seems to arrive in good timing, when the international flow of tourists coming to Portugal, with Algarve included, seems stronger than ever. IKEA has already solid roots in Portugal’s two metropolitan areas, with a couple of stores in Lisbon and another in Porto, and a third one in Braga, the northern city home of a region with a dynamic economy.
One could say that the Algarve IKEA infrastructure seems delayed by a couple of years, given the potential that tourism offers to its business model. But, on the other hand, it seems the Swedes decided to get later but stronger. The new MAR Shopping is the most impressive IKEA in the country, and one could really expect the project to be a significant commercial landmark in Algarve for the next couple of decades.