Algarve retailers association ACRAL has finally dropped the injunction it had against IKEA’s mega shopping complex in Loulé, saying it is ‘time to turn a threat into an opportunity’.
With the massive project now underway, ACRAL’s new president Álvaro Viegas is trying a new tack.
It is useless trying to fight against IKEA in the courts, said the man who took over ACRAL’s leadership last month. It’s time for retailers “to find the best strategies” that could lead to profits for their businesses – stressing IKEA will attract “several thousand” people to the Algarve, and thus create new opportunities for every local business.
Viegas’ stance is radically opposed to that of his predecessor, Vítor Guerreiro (click here).
Guerreiro was key in formulating the injunction that had no power to stop IKEA from starting work on its complex last summer.
The 82,000sqm complex will include an IKEA furniture store, a mall and a fashion outlet. It will cost €200 million, is expected to create 3,000 direct and indirect jobs, and will begin trading next April.
Mall gets its name
The day before ACRAL dropped its injunction, IKEA revealed that the name for its new complex is ‘MAR Shopping Algarve’ – to join the MAR Shopping Matosinhos complex that the Swedish group opened in 2008.
“We couldn’t choose any other name for our shopping centres,” said Ana Machado, head of IKEA’s marketing of subsidiary, which manages the malls.
“No other country has a past and present so intimately connected to the sea. From the Discoveries to its influence in the success of tourism, few countries have the sea as such a strategic asset for their development,” she explained.