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Posted by portugalpress on October 12, 2017
Photo by: MAR SHOPPING
Herman Gewert, the mall’s general manager

It was due to open last month, but delays in some of the works and the need to ensure “the safety and wellbeing” of customers forced those in charge of Loulé’s MAR Shopping to push back its opening until October 26. To prove eager shoppers that this was just a minor setback, the shopping centre held a pre-launch event on Tuesday for members of the press who were given a first-hand look at what will be the Algarve’s biggest mall.

As readers may recall, the shopping centre is part of the €200 million mega complex that includes the IKEA store that opened in March and a retail fashion outlet (Designer Outlet Algarve) due to open this autumn.

But in a region that already has its fair share of large shopping centres, the goal is to offer customers “much more than just a commercial exchange”.

“We want to provide an experience which also includes events, besides just retail and entertainment,” said the mall’s general manager Herman Gewert, adding that “culture” will be a big part of MAR Shopping’s agenda.

Gewert, 62, did not know much about Portugal before deciding to head the new IKEA mall in the Algarve. He had only been twice to Lisbon and Porto, but having already spent a year in the Algarve, he believes the region is “full of potential”.

“And I hope this project will contribute to make the region thrive during the 12 months of the year. Investments like these will help overcome the problem of seasonality,” he told Barlavento newspaper.

When the project was first announced, many criticised the IKEA complex for the impact it would have on the local economy and businesses.

But according to Gewert, “competition is positive”.

“Without it, you don’t evolve. And, above all else, the big ‘winner’ will be the consumer, who will have a larger selection at better prices at his/her disposal,” he said, adding that the IKEA mall will inject new impetus into the local economy.

“I also hope that this opening will show other companies that there are opportunities to invest and start businesses in the Algarve,” he added.

MAR Shopping will feature 85 stores, 25 restaurants, a large outside terrace for the food court, a playground where children can play under the supervision of professionals for free, and an outdoor 8,000sqm leisure area with fountains and a stage where performances can be held when the weather is favourable.

There will even be solar-powered charging stations where visitors can charge their mobile electronic devices.

Inside the shopping centre, the decoration is a mixture of Nordic influences and traditional Portuguese tiles.

Efficient energy usage will be one of the cornerstones of the mall, which will feature photovoltaic solar panels, LED lighting and an advanced software system that will control air conditioning and lighting.

All taps, showers and bathrooms are controlled by meters to avoid wasting water.

The shopping centre hopes to welcome 10 million visitors every year and create around 3,000 jobs.

What stores are opening?

Eager shoppers will be happy to hear that there will be no shortage of variety at MAR Shopping.

One of the highlights will be a Primark store described as the “biggest in Portugal”, as well as one of the first two Starbucks coffee houses to open in the Algarve.

A NOS cinema with eight “state-of the-art” theatres is also sure to delight moviegoers, especially with the so-called ‘love seats’ which allow couples to watch a film without an arm-rest separating them.

The Resident has listed all the confirmed outlets that will be part of the mall, dividing them into easily-distinguishable categories (see below).

Mar Shopping Stores

Fashion: Antony Morato; Bershka; Calzedonia; Caroll; Claire’s; Cortefiel; Decenio; El Ganso; Ericeira Surf Shop; Gant; Giovanni Galli; H&M; Intimissimi: Kiabi; Lanidor; Lefties; Levi’s; Lion of Porches; Mango; Massimo Dutti; Mike Davis; Mlbolsas; mmi; Mr Blue; Natura Selection; New Yorker; Origem; Oysho; Parfois; Pepe Jeans; Pull & Bear; Punt Roma; Purificacion Garcia; Sacoor Brothers; Salsa; Samsonite; Sfera; Shopping à la Carte; Springfield; Stefanel; Stone by Stone; Stradivarius; Suits Inc; Swarovski; Tezenis; Tiffosi; Timberland; Tous; Triumph; United Colors of Benetton; Urban Project; Uterqüe; Women’s Secret; Zara.

Food Court: Arcádia – Casa do Chocolate; Bitoque no Ponto; Bodegão; Brasa Rio; Buondi; Burger King; Celeiro; Double T; Finzi Contini; Fogo de Chão; H3; Häagen Dazs; Italian Republic; Jeronymo; Joshua’s Shoarma; Li Yuan; llao llao; MAR Lounge; McDonald’s; Nicola Gourmet; O Reco da Baixa; Olá; Pans & Company; Pizza Hut; Quiosque Segafredo; Ris8tto; Seafood and Fish; Serra da Estrela; Slow; Talho Burguer; Umi Sushi; Wafflemania; Vitaminas; Wok to Walk

Books, Music, Media: Bertrand; Fnac; Worten; Rádio Popular.
Children’s Clothes and Toys: Algodão Doce; Atelier des Enfants; Blue Kids; Centroxogo; Chicco; didatic by edicare; Imaginarium; Knot; Mayoral; Natura Pura; Partimpim; Royal Kids; Science4You; Sergent Major; Tiffosi Kids; Totikids; Toys R’ Us; Zippy.

Mobile Phones: MEO, Vodafone, Phonehouse.

Footwear, Suitcases, Handbags: Aldo; Ecco; Eureka; Geox; Hush Puppies; Max; Prof; Seaside.

Health and Beauty: Celeiro; Centros Único; Healthy Nails; KIKO make up; MAC; O Boticário; Perfumes & Companhia; Pluricosmética; Rituals; Sephora; The Body Shop; Wiñk.

Home and Décor: A Loja do Gato Preto; Bairro Arte; CASA; Colunex; Espaço Casa; IKEA; SIA; Silverfield; Smart Lunch; Tiger; Zara Home.

Jewellery, Watches, Sunglasses: Bluebird; Boutique dos Relógios; Damy Jóias; Grand Optical; Kiko; Magnólia; MultiOpticas; Oro Vivo; Pandora; Sunglasse Hut; Swatch.

Sport: Adidas; Columbia; Extreme; Foot Locker; SportZone.

Services: Armin Bastian; Benisa Pharmacy; BPI; Entre Vogais; Fotosport; Hussel; In Tecc; LEGO® Fun Factory; Midas; Mister Minit; My Print Shop; Nespresso; Norsec; NOS; Nova Câmbios; PC Clinic; Petlândia; Quiosque do Mar; Starwash; Viagens Abreu

Groceries: Pingo Doce

Cinema: NOS

Photos: Sara Alves/Open Media Group

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