‘Dynamics of Downtown’ San Francisco Leads to Nordstrom Exit from City

Nordstrom (Phillip Pessar / Flickr / CC)
Phillip Pessar / Flickr / CC

Nordstrom will be shuttering its two stores in downtown San Francisco after 35 years due to a change in “the dynamics of the downtown,” the retailer announced Tuesday.

Nordstrom Rack will close July 1 and the Westfield Mall Nordstrom will close at the end of August, the San Francisco Standard reported. Between the two stores 375,000 square feet of retail space will be completely vacant by the end of summer, according to the report.

Twenty retail stores have closed or announced plans to close since 2020 in the Union Square area, according to the report, with eight store closings announced this year alone.

In a statement, Westfield Mall owner Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield — a French based Real Estate company — said the planned closure “underscores the deteriorating situation in Downtown San Francisco.”

The Standard reported:

In an email to employees, the company’s chief stores officer wrote that “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.”

San Francisco/Oakland was ranked the second most hard-hit area in the country for theft in 2020 and 2021, after Los Angeles, according to a 2022 retail security survey by the National Retail Federation. The broad issue of shoplifting has led to a San Francisco Target store placing much of its merchandise behind lock and key.

While the Westfield Mall can trace its dwindling foot traffic to the rise in online shopping even before the pandemic, issues of public safety have become a great risk for stores.

The front entrances of the mall are considered hotspots for police data, according to the San Francisco Standard. Located at Stevenson and Fifth streets, there were 586 calls for law enforcement so far this year — making it the 21st most dispatched intersection in all of San Francisco, as reported by the San Francisco Standard.

Nordstrom’s announcement comes just weeks after the closure of a nearby Whole Foods Market. The store announced its closing less than a year into its grand opening.  A man fatally overdosed in the bathroom of the grocery store in September, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last month

A spokesperson for the store said in a statement that it will reevaluate a reopening “if we feel we can ensure the safety of our team members in the store,” per the Standard. 


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