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Posted by portugalpress on May 02, 2018
Store manager Abdelhak Ayadi

It’s been just over a year since the Algarve welcomed its first IKEA store in Loulé and already the store is doing better than expected, having welcomed a total of 2.5 million people.

“It was a very good first year as we surpassed our goals and expect to continue growing,” said store manager Abdelhak Ayadi in an interview with Barlavento newspaper.

He told the paper that the store’s sales were “way above expectations” and that the opening of neighbouring MAR Shopping and Designer Outlet Algarve helped double IKEA’s clientele.

Around “one third” of IKEA’s clients are foreigners and they are the ones who spend the most money with us, Ayadi explained.

“Due to their great investments in real estate, their buying needs are bigger because they furnish entire houses with products of our brand,” he said.

Most of these foreign clients are English, French, Scandinavian and an increasing amount of Italians.

Among the store’s top sellers are sofa beds, kitchens, bed linen and outdoor furniture.

Another great success has been the store’s restaurant, which started out with 450 seats before an extra 150 were added due to great demand.

The Click and Deliver service is also popular as it allows customers to make their purchases online and then either pick them up at the store or have them delivered at home.

According to the store manager however, around 80% of clients in the Algarve still prefer to buy directly at the store.

While IKEA Loulé may be off to a great start, the store does not intend to rest on its laurels.

A series of new services are due to be launched, including a new sewing counter where clients will be able to choose their materials, explain their ideas to the sewing professionals and leave the store with their own unique product.

Clients could already request this service but now it will be offered directly at the store in a “cheaper and quicker way”.

“For example, if someone wants to use one of our materials for a pillowcase, all they have to do is buy the pillow, bring it to us and choose the material they want. Depending on the team’s workload, clients can have lunch at our restaurant and have their custom-made products ready by the time they’ve finished eating,” he said.

IKEA Loulé is also due to announce a new pilot project that will represent an “important contribution to sustainability in the Algarve”.

The store currently employs 220 people and is still recruiting for its various departments.