Old Navy joins HUGE list of stores closing downtown San Francisco locations due to rising crime

One employee made it clear that crime was a contributing factor as workers "no longer feel safe" at the store.

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA
An Old Navy employee is speaking out about the out-of-control crime in downtown San Francisco that resulted in the company making its recent decision to permanently shutter the store location on Market Street, following in the footsteps of Nordstrom, Whole FoodsT-Mobile, and a whole host of other business.

In an interview with CBS News, the worker detailed the rampant shoplifting and violence towards staff that employees were forced to deal with on a daily basis.

"They're (shoplifters) there every day. When I'm on the floor walking around I would say at least 12, 14 during the day," the worker who wished to remain anonymous told the network. "It's really bad because it's downtown San Francisco and it's really out of control."

"I recognize a lot of them and they're just super comfortable, sometimes they'll take two or three mesh bags at a time, and that sometimes is $2,000 worth of stuff," the Old Navy employee explained.

The worker said that the increase in shoplifting and other criminal activity has exponentially worsed within the past year, and explained that Old Navy's flagship store, which is set to permanently close on July 1, was hit by thieves 22 times in the past two days, according to CBS News.

On Saturday, Old Navy released a statement announcing the company's decision to shutter its doors in downtown San Francisco, which has been on Market Street for more than three decades, according to New York Post.

"Old Navy is always evaluating its real estate portfolio to ensure a healthy fleet of stores that can provide the best possible experience for our customers,” Gap Inc. said, which owns retailers that include Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. Since our Market Street store opened in the 1990s, the way we leverage flagship locations has changed."

"As a result, we have taken the difficult decision to close our Market Street store when the lease expires, and we are already working to identify new locations in downtown San Francisco that will better serve the needs of the business and our customers," the statement continued.

While the retailer did not disclose in the statement whether or not the increase in crime led to the decision to close the downtown location, the employee made it clear that it was a contributing factor as workers "no longer feel safe" at the store.

"I feel I'm not as safe as I should be," the employee said. "I've seen one guy carry a hammer before, so you don't know what these people's intentions are when they're trying to steal, and I feel like sometimes my life could be in jeopardy." 

"I was sad for awhile, because I do love the store, I do love my team... other than that, I'm kind of glad that they're closing, because I don't feel like fearing for my life every single day that I work there," they said. "I just hope that it can get back to normal the way that it used to be when people were out shopping, having fun, with their families." 

San Francisco Mayor London Breed has publicly claimed that the mass exodus of businesses in the city are not due to the increase in crime, but rather the changing directory between retailers and consumers.

Following Old Navy's announcement, Mayor Breed said on Friday that this "is not about the issues and the conditions, this is about the changes to retail. And that's just where we are at this time. And it's time for us to make some adjustments to that." 

"The city is growing and expanding, but not in the traditional Financial District 9 to 5 ways, or retail shop in the various mall things that the young people used to do," Breed said, who added that the city will start to see a financial comback following artificial intelligence companies $15.6 billion dollars in investment in the city.

In recent months, NordstromWhole FoodsT-Mobile, Walgreens, and Saks OFF 5th, all have announced their departures, citing rampant retail theft, violence from homeless vagrants, and loss of foot traffic as residents refuse to shop in the once-beloved city.


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