Monday, February 25, 2013

Is Corte Ingles really the Spanish Disneyland?

I have never rated the Spanish retail sector with its poor service, over-priced and uninspiring product lines and old-fashioned stores.  But apparently they are the next big tourist attraction.

According to this article - Spain's retailers reboot to pull tourists from shore to store - a big effort is underway by the likes of Mango, Corte Ingles and others to offset falling local sales by attracting more foreign tourists with translators, discounts and targeted advertising.

I find it unlikely that tourists will take the bait.  I certainly don't recognise the description of El Corte Ingles quoted in the article: "it's like a Disney theme park for us ... we spend a whole day in here".

The shopper said that he was Colombian, which makes me think if I ever visit Colombia not to expect too much of their department stores.

I can't think many British visitors would be so impressed with El Corte Ingles.  It's not awful by any means but seems expensive to me and will feel even more so to tourists getting little more than €1 for their pound.

And Spanish shops seem to rarely offer great discounts, especially the supermarkets which I see as a couple of decades behind the British ones that everyone moans about so much.

I have already had a go at Spain's bargain stores (Spanish pound shops need to raise their game).

Perhaps clothes shops might get some joy.  Spanish fashion chains such as Mango and Zara enjoy strong international reputations and might attract some more business with a concerted push.  At certain times of the year their sales can feature meaningful cuts in prices too.

Beyond that I don't see Spain's shops becoming its next tourist attraction.  To get a sorely needed boost to demand from more tourism the country would be better sprucing up tired looking tourist infrastructure, improving the beaches and prioritising good service (see Spanish tourism feels the heat).

From our website: Employing staff in Spain

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