Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Going down to the mall?

Visiting the outlet village, Cheshire Oaks on Sunday, the Trafford Centre on Monday and then the Arndale Centre yesterday brought home the fact that this type of shopping is immensely popular in the UK.

When you visit similar centres in Spain, it is a mixed bag. Some succeed like the Habeneras whilst many others seem to struggle. I imagine it is because Spanish people still prefer to shop in smaller establishments in the centre of towns. They don’t have the “mall” mentality yet.

One centre which seems to have never really taken off is Ociopía  just outside the centre of Orihuela. I can’t say we have ever been there and found it crowded. Gradually shops have closed through lack of business making the problem even worse for those that remain.

The death knell came when the supermarket, Sabeco closed its doors just a few months ago. The presence of a supermarket draws shoppers who then will visit the other shops and will stop for refreshments.

It looks like the gap could now be filled in a relatively short time. Discussions are well under way with several operators who are showing interest in the location. With a supermarket there, it is hoped that other retailers will follow suit. There are also plans to refurbish the fast food outlets which again would make a visit to Ociopía more attractive.

Having said all that, whenever we have visited the commercial centres located outside of Murcia e.g. Thader, they have been equally quiet. I’m told that they get busier at the weekends but of course, shops need steady custom throughout the week in order to survive.

Perhaps, as I said before the Spanish are just not ready for the shopping mall.

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