Big businesses continue to retreat from crime-ridden San Francisco. A disturbing report shows that 95 downtown retailers — more than half — have closed since the COVID pandemic began.
At least one more is to follow: Williams-Sonoma announces closure in 2024.
Of the 203 retailers that opened in the city’s Union Square area in 2019, only 107 are still operating, a 47 percent drop in just a few years battered by the pandemic.
Heavyweights include Brooks Brothers, Ray Ban, Christian Louboutin, Lululemon and Marmot.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, a further 12 new retailers have opened in the region, but already two have either closed or are planning to close.
Big businesses continue to retreat from crime-ridden San Francisco. A disturbing report shows that 95 downtown retailers — more than half — have closed since the COVID pandemic began
The Union Square Alliance says about seven more new retail locations hope to open by next year, but in the end there will still be a net loss of about 90 stores since COVID first broke out.
Rampant crime in downtown San Francisco has caused scores of retailers to shake hands and move out.
In April, Whole Foods announced the closure of its locations, while Anthropologie and Office Depot also left.
Remaining stores like Target had to lock all their inventory behind glass to deter shoplifters.
An important note is that The San Francisco Standard numbers do not include the 100 stores at Westfield San Francisco Center Mall.
Cannabis dispensaries, two of which also packed up and left town during the pandemic, and service-oriented businesses were not counted.
“Decisions like these are never easy, and this one was particularly difficult,” Nordstrom wrote in his email.
“But as many of you are aware, the dynamics of the downtown San Francisco market have changed dramatically over the past few years, impacting the flow of customers into our stores and our ability to operate successfully.”
The Westfield Mall was much more vocal in its statement to the Washington Post, directly pointing to the increasing crime that is moving businesses out of the city, in what it described as “unsafe conditions for customers, retailers and employees.”
Of the 203 retailers that opened in the city’s Union Square area in 2019, only 107 are still operating, a 47 percent drop in just a few years battered by the pandemic
Heavyweights include Brooks Brothers, Ray Ban, Christian Louboutin, Lululemon and Marmot
Since the pandemic began in 2020, a further 12 new retailers have opened in the region, but already two have either closed or are planning to close
The Nordstrom Rack in downtown San Francisco will close on July 1st
Whole Foods previously closed a flagship store in downtown San Francisco
The mall said, “These significant problems are preventing an economic recovery for the region.”
Nordstrom joins the growing list of stores to leave the seaside town, including H&M, Marshall’s, Gap and Banana Republic, among others.
Despite official reports that San Francisco’s crime rate is falling, a former prosecutor said this month that the city’s liberal district attorney’s decision not to prosecute many crimes skewed those numbers.
Gap was the first company to announce its exit in August 2020, followed shortly after by H&M and Marshall’s. Over the years, more and more shops withdrew.
According to Market Street Anthropologie, Market Street Anthropologie will close its doors on May 13th San Francisco Chronicles. The brand will no longer have a location in the city.
The Office Depot on Third Street will also be closed, but the exact closing date is not known. The brand has a larger store on Geary Boulevard that will not be closed.
Market Street Anthropologie (pictured) will close its doors on May 13
The Office Depot on Third Street (pictured) will also be closed
Post-pandemic, downtown San Francisco has had a hard time bouncing back as shoppers haven’t flocked back to the once-popular shopping spot.
The city as a whole is struggling to recover as city residents continue to battle a crime epidemic, highlighted recently by the assassination of Cash App CEO Bob Lee and the brutal broad daylight attack on the city’s former fire commissioner has come into focus.
Although crime is down nearly 8 percent from the same period last year, stores have started to lock up merchandise.
A Target store in San Francisco has locked down its entire line of products.
A video posted to TikTok on April 20 shows all of the items secured behind glass.
According to geotagged images, some products at the Folsom Street store had been locked and keyed since at least October last year, WNCT reported.
A Target location in San Francisco had to store its inventory behind glass to deter shoplifting
Organic food giant Whole Foods opened a new “flagship” location on Trinity Place in the city’s Tenderloin District in March 2022, hoping to revitalize footfall after two years of draconian COVID-19 restrictions hit businesses in the area heavily had affected.
However, a spokesperson for Whole Foods stated that the store was closed to staff for safety reasons. “We are only closing our Trinity location for now,” the spokesman said in a statement. “If we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in store, we will consider reopening our Trinity location.”
The company cited deteriorating road conditions linked to drug use and crime in the vicinity of the store as driving factors for the closure.
Industry groups have indicated that there is a problem with theft. The National Retail Federation says organized retail crime costs stores about $100 billion a year in losses, according to a 2022 survey.
In 2021, retailers saw a 27 percent increase in thefts