Clothing giants Zara and Pull and Bear, both owned by Spanish group Inditex, are planning to close their stores on Faro’s main Santo António shopping street.
The decision has been blasted by Faro’s social democrats (PSD) and retailers who believe that the closures will deal a huge blow to the local shopping district.
“These are two anchor stores, essential to the dynamism of local commerce in downtown Faro,” said Álvaro Viegas, president of the Algarve retailers’ association ACRAL.
He plans to hold a meeting with the administration of Inditex as “no formal explanation for the closures has been provided”.
“However, it wouldn’t be surprising if the decision was a direct and predictable consequence of the proliferation of large shopping complexes in the region, the latest of which being MAR Shopping in Loulé,” Viegas said.
He added that ACRAL had been warning that this could happen and “unfortunately, time has proved us right,” Viegas said.
The Faro PSD party has also lambasted the decision, saying that it is “evident that these stores, especially Zara, do not suffer from a lack of clientele or income”.
“These anchor stores are vital to attract more people to this magnificent outdoor shopping centre located in the noblest part of the Algarve,” the social democrats say, adding that improvements have been made to Rua de Santo António to make it more appealing and safer, and that the closure of these stores could jeopardise the work that has been done.
PSD Faro asks that the group rethinks its decision for the good of Faro’s downtown area, and the hundreds of families whose lives depend on the jobs provided by the stores.