San Francisco downtown loses retail giant Nordstrom as 2 shops close due to crime

The closures "underscores the deteriorating situation in Downtown San Francisco."

Nordstrom will be closing both of its stores in downtown San Francisco in the coming months, due to the changing "dynamics" of the downtown market as the region continues to be plagued by retail thefts. 

The closures are downtown San Francisco specific as the retail giant recently announced the opening of five new Rack stores in California, including some near the Bay Area.

Fox News obtained a memo to employees from Chief Stores Officer Jamie Nordstrom that said the company will not renew its leases for its San Francisco Centre Nordstrom store and the Market Street Rack store across the street.

Nordstrom wrote, "We’ve spent more than 35 years serving customers in downtown San Francisco, building relationships with them and investing in the local community. But as many of you know, the dynamics of the downtown San Francisco market have changed dramatically over the past several years, impacting customer foot traffic to our stores and our ability to operate successfully."

The Market Street Rack will close on July 1, and the San Francisco Centre location will close at the end of August. The stores represent about 357,500 square feet of retail space.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the owner of the Westfield mall, where the downtown Nordstrom is located, told the San Francisco Standard that the closures "underscores the deteriorating situation in Downtown San Francisco."

A spokesperson for the mall added, "A growing number of retailers and businesses are leaving the area due to the unsafe conditions for customers, retailers, and employees, coupled with the fact that these significant issues are preventing an economic recovery of the area.”

The statement continued, "[Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield] has actively engaged with city leaders for many years to express our serious concerns, which are shared by our customers and retailers. We have urged the city to find solutions to the key issues and lack of enforcement again.”

The news comes on the heels of a report that San Francisco’s flagship Whole Foods location closed after just a year in business due to 568 emergency calls to the Market Street store over 13 months. Incidents included vagrants starting fights, defecating on the floor, and throwing food. According to The Standard, 20 retailers have closed stores or announced closures in the Union Square area since 2020. Saks OFF 5th is also planning to close a location on the same block as Nordstrom Rack this year.

A week before the announcement that Whole Foods was closing, CashApp founder Bob Lee was fatally stabbed in the streets of city. Former fire commissioner Don Carmignani was recently beaten over the head with a pipe by a homeless man. 

According to the National Retail Federation’s 2022 retail security survey, San Francisco/Oakland was ranked as the second-most hard-hit metropolitan area by theft in 2020 and 2021, trailing Los Angeles. New York City and Houston placed third and fourth.

National Review cited a spokesperson for Democrat Mayor London Breed’s office who noted that the city had implemented public-safety measures including stationing two police officers inside the Westfield Mall as well as community ambassadors in the neighborhood. “The City worked with [Westfield] to approve an office allocation and plan to reduce Nordstrom’s square footage and bring in additional office uses to the property. This plan made it through the Planning Commission but no further steps were taken on this plan. Westfield then began speaking about other options for redevelopment. The City has been eager to get a concrete plan from them that we could explore, however, they never brought us anything for review.”

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