Nordstrom Shoppers Caption: Nordstrom is closing both of its downtown San Francisco stores, citing the area’s changed “dynamics,” which has not recovered since the pandemic and is in the crime spotlight. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Image)
By Jordan Valinsky | CNN
Nordstrom is closing both stores in downtown San Francisco, citing the changed “dynamics” of the area, which has not recovered since the pandemic and has been in the crime spotlight.
The two locations are a 312,000-square-foot, five-story Nordstrom department store in the Westfield Shopping Center and a Rack discount store across the street on Market Street. Both locations will close in the summer, with the upscale department store chain telling employees in a memo that it is phasing out the stores’ leases.
RELATED: What’s Really Up With San Francisco’s Crime?
“Decisions like these are never easy, and this one was particularly difficult,” Jamie Nordstrom, Nordstrom’s chief stores officer, wrote in a memo obtained by CNN. “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.”
A spokesman for the mall told CNN affiliate KGO-TV that Nordstrom’s closure “underscores the deteriorating situation in downtown San Francisco.”
“A growing number of retailers and businesses are fleeing the area due to the unsafe conditions for customers, retailers and employees, and the fact that these significant issues are preventing the area from recovering economically,” the mall said.
Nordstrom’s exit dealt another blow to San Francisco, as several well-known chains in the city have closed. A few weeks ago, a Whole Foods location that opened just a year ago announced it was temporarily closing for safety reasons. San Francisco Standard, an independent news website, has tracked 20 major store closures since 2020, including Anthropologie, Office Depot and CB2.
Incidents of theft in San Francisco have drawn national attention, despite a general decline in crime over the past six years.
Property crimes in San Francisco have garnered national attention through several attention-grabbing videos of thieves in action. Though still well below 2017 levels, the city saw a 23% increase in property crime between 2020 and 2022, with an increase in burglaries and theft leading the way, according to the San Francisco Police Department.
Meanwhile, violent crime statistics in San Francisco have remained relatively stable in recent years. Preliminary police data reports 12 homicides in San Francisco this year, up 20% from the same period last year. Overall, there were 56 homicides in San Francisco in 2022, which is the same number of homicides the city recorded in 2021.
In addition to crime, there are several other reasons that may have contributed to the closure of Nordstrom’s locations. First, post-pandemic remote work has led to a drop in foot traffic in major U.S. downtown areas, including San Francisco. Malls are also gaining popularity among shoppers as they increasingly shift their engagement online.
Nordstrom, too, has been struggling with its own problems and recently announced the closure of its Canadian stores. The company is also focusing its efforts on the discount rack unit and recently unveiled a rebrand to attract new buyers.
The CNN Wire & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company. All rights reserved.