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Algarve shop craze

Consumers in the Algarve are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping centres, with 10 large-scale areas spread across the region and a further four due.

A study by the Algarve’s Regional Directorate for the Economy concluded that these 10 shopping centres together cover an area of 200,000 square metres but should the four approved projects go ahead, the region could boast around 325,000 square metres of shopping area, 62.5% more than now.

The study also revealed that these shopping centres together employed more than 5,400 people in their 587 stores.

Algarve Shopping in Guia and Forum Algarve in Faro make up for 41.3% of the total shopping area in the Algarve, have 48% of the stores and offer 47% of the employment figure.

In 2009 alone, four shopping areas opened to the public. They were the Tavira Gran Plaza, Ria Shopping in Olhão, Galerias Persa in Faro and Portimão Retail Center.

Next month, the Algarve will see the opening of the Aqua Portimão, which will include a Primark store, one of the UK’s top clothing chains, and a H&M, a Swedish clothing company.

Demographically speaking, there are currently 465 square metres of shopping area per 1,000 inhabitants in the Algarve, more than the national average of 261 square metres.

However, despite the continuing investment in the Algarve, the study showed that most shopping centres have been registering a decrease in business activity since mid-2008.