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IKEA Loulé - Algarve set to open by 2017

Deputy Minister Paulo Portas paid a fleeting visit to the Algarve on Friday to participate in a ceremony to mark the laying of the first stone of the IKEA store where work has been going on in earnest since the beginning of August.

Paulo Portas was joined by several high-ranking officials to mark one of the biggest single investments in Portugal in recent years, which will see the IKEA store flanked by a shopping centre and an outlet in an investment worth 200 million euros.
The project itself is expected to create 3,000 direct jobs, but Richard Vathaire, Managing Director of IKEA Centres, the global company operating the IKEA group’s shopping centres, believes this number is likely to be higher, especially during
the construction phase of the complex.
Christiane Thomas, Retail Manager of IKEA Portugal, explained that Loulé IKEA will cover 24,000m2 and that the opening is planned for sometime next year, though it is only expected to be fully functional in 2017, when the shopping centre will boast 220 stores and 3,500 parking spaces spread over an area of 85,000m2.
Richard Vathaire told The Portugal News that the store will compete with the best Europe has to offer.
“Despite the current economic situation, we want to continue with our contribution to the development of the Portuguese economy with quality projects and ones that create wealth and jobs.”
The Deputy Prime Minister, who opted not to answer questions related to next month’s general elections, explained that the IKEA store is “extremely significant due its dimensions. This investment, from a financial point of view, is one of the biggest we have seen in the current legislative period, and in terms of job creation, the biggest in recent years in a region where employment is very important.”
Loulé Vice Mayor Hugo Nunes meanwhile remembered that this project has dragged on for a number of years “and was controversial and was discussed to a great degree, and while it has been contested, has also received widespread support.”
He explained that both the Loulé Town Hall and IKEA are currently assessing measures which will “mitigate and reduce the negative impacts that could emanate from the building of the IKEA store in close proximity to smaller business and also to find ways of reviving shopping areas and the urban centres of our cities.”
IKEA currently have three stores in Portugal at Alfragide, Loures and Matosinhos, with a factory located at Paços de Ferreira.
The Portugal News was told that IKEA are looking to further expand their presence in the coming decade in the country, with plans in place to build another six stores, starting next year in Braga.
Other potential locations are in central Portugal and the Greater Lisbon Area, but none are planned for the Alentejo while Loulé is deemed sufficient to serve the needs of the population in southern Portugal.


[writen] 2015/09/10

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