The decade's most triggering comedy
The firm will shutter its store at the Westfield San Francisco Centre in August, while another smaller store across the street will close on the first day of July, according to a Tuesday report from the San Francisco Business Times. The closures mark one of several departures from prominent firms in recent months as crime and homelessness plague the California metropolis.
“Decisions like this are never easy, and this one has been especially difficult,” Jamie Nordstrom, the company’s chief stores officer, said in a message to affected employees obtained by the San Francisco Business Times. “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 number of arrests in San Francisco has fallen significantly over the past three years amid calls from prominent officials, including San Francisco Democratic Mayor London Breed, to defund law enforcement. The downtown portion of San Francisco has also suffered from declining foot traffic in the years since government lockdowns sequestered employees in their homes and apartments.
Nordstrom, despite the closures of the two downtown stores, intends to substantially increase the number of locations elsewhere in the broader Bay Area.
The Nordstrom location at the Westfield had been operated since 1988, while the smaller location across the street had been operated since 2014. A spokesperson for the Westfield mall told the San Francisco Business Times that executives have voiced their concerns about “the deteriorating situation in downtown San Francisco” to city leadership.
“We have urged the city to find solutions to the key issues and lack of enforcement against rampant criminal activity,” the spokesperson added. “The current environment is not sustainable for the community, or businesses, and we are hopeful the city will implement the changes that are so urgently needed.”
The move from Nordstrom comes shortly after Whole Foods announced plans to shutter a location at Trinity Place in downtown San Francisco over drug use outside the store. A source in San Francisco City Hall confirmed that substance abuse and criminal activity from individuals near the store factored into the closure, according to a report from the San Francisco Standard.
Pharmacy giant Walgreens likewise closed several locations in San Francisco two years ago, while technology retailer Best Buy has struggled with safety issues related to organized retail crime. Prominent firms such as Tesla and Oracle were among the more than 300 companies that moved their headquarters from northern California over the past four years, according to a report from the Hoover Institution.
Retailers across the nation have also contended with increases in retail theft, much of which is increasingly organized by criminal enterprises, according to a report released last month by the National Retail Federation. The trade association said crime networks have become increasingly “violent” and “brazen” in their tactics over the past two years, using methods such as smash-and-grab, weapons, or threats of violence against store employees or customers.