MALAGA province has transmogrified into the Mecca of shopping tourism for northern Morocco’s burgeoning middle class, with figures released by the Costa del Sol’s major shopping centre validating suspicions that there has been a major leap forward this summer.
Jesus Maria Condon is the manager of Malaga City’s famous Larios shopping centre, and he confirmed that the influx is far higher than in previous years.
Larios has for the first time carried out a targeted pre-summer advertising campaign in the Moroccan capital Rabat, using Facebook and other social media to deliver messages in French promoting the ongoing sales.
This has proved an outstanding success, according to Condon, who says that the campaign resulted in 150,000 Moroccan families visiting the centre in the first week of sales alone.
The crafty chief is busy amassing data by dispatching minions to the centre’s car park in order to count the number of Moroccan plates and record which cities the vehicles are registered in.
Most of them tend to be well-to-do families from Tangier who travel in ‘mid-to-upper end’ range cars and bring their children to enjoy the shopping frenzy.
“They buy a lot and spend much more than the average Spanish family,” beamed Condon. “They return to their country with their boots literally stuffed full.”
They also spend more time at the centre than ‘normal’ customers, splashing out mostly on clothing and accessories from brands such as Zara and Primark, with a huge amount of children’s gear passing through the tills.
Employees at department store El Corte Ingles have also noticed the difference, with minted Moroccan shoppers seeking out designer clothing and cosmetics brands which are difficult to find and more expensive to buy in northern Africa.
Moreover, forecasts suggest that the cross-Straits retail rumpus is likely to intensify further over the coming years, with a new direct ferry link between Malaga and Tangier planned for next summer.