Swedish furniture giant IKEA is looking to open a large store in the Algarve, which could be located in Loulé, at an investment of 200 million euros and creating 3,000 jobs in the area.
Loulé Câmara President Seruca Emídio said: “This will be the largest structure of the group in Iberia and we are very keen to welcome the project.”
He added that he had already had a meeting with representatives from IKEA and was keen for there not to be any obstacles, because the alternative would mean the store being built in Spain.
“The company has a shop in Lisbon and another in Seville and it wants to fill the geographical gap in between these two points, which includes the Algarve, Alentejo and Huelva,” said Seruca Emidio.
The area near the Parque das Cidades, where the Algarve stadium is located, has been suggested as a likely location for the store.
However, there has been some resistance to this plan by the association of hotels and tourist developments in the region (AHETA).
According to Elidério Viegas, President of AHETA, the Parque das Cidades “should have a multipurpose space, a congress centre and other equipment for tourism, not shopping centres.”
João Rosado, from the association of regional commerce and services, is also against the project.
“IKEA will not bring any advantages to the Algarve and the creation of jobs is an illusion because many jobs in the traditional commercial areas will disappear,” he said.
The Algarve Resident tried to get a comment from IKEA but no-one was available to talk to us at the time we went to press on Wednesday.