Nordstrom Latest Business to Flee ‘Crime-Ridden’ San Francisco

After 35 years in business at the same location, Nordstrom closed its flagship store in San Francisco, California Sunday.

The closure comes as crime, homelessness, and public drug use have been on the rise in the city’s downtown.

Nordstrom’s store was located in the Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market Street. It occupied 312,000 square feet spread over five floors since 1988. According to MSN, the company had announced the store would close last May due to declining sales. 

Social media influencer Ian Miles Cheong posted a video to Twitter showing the empty space that once housed Nordstrom.

“Nordstrom is leaving San Francisco for good,” he wrote. “Like many other retailers, it is no longer able to do business in the crime-ridden city.”

“It’s definitely partially due to the crime in the area. COVID-19 had a big impact,” a Nordstrom employee told KGO-TV.

Rising crime rates have been a problem in other cities too where gangs of thieves sometimes target stores in broad daylight with impunity.

Earlier this month, several people ransacked a Nordstrom store in the Topanga Mall near Los Angeles.  A video of the brazen daylight robbery was posted to Instagram. 

Warning: Foul Language Alert

Critics are blaming San Francisco’s leaders for the increase in crime that has led to several businesses leaving. Retailers who have announced plans to pull up stakes and leave the Golden Gate City, include Old Navy, Banana Republic, Crate & Barrel, AmazonGo, Saks Off Fifth, Anthropologie, and Office Depot, according to MSN

Meanwhile, Walgreens and other stores have locked up most of their products in displays due to the increase in shoplifting in the area. 

A downtown security guard told The New York Post he sees at least five thefts happen where he works every day. 

“I can’t use any force, so there’s nothing I can do,” the guard, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. “In my eight-hour shift, we catch at least 15 people coming in and stealing, and it’s worse on weekends. 

The National Retail Federation (NRF) said that in some cases, “rampant crime and the dangers coupled” have led to a decrease in foot traffic, according to Fox Business

“It should come as no surprise that these factors can have a negative impact on businesses and can contribute to the decision to close a specific store location,” the NRF said in a May blog post. “Several national brands recently closed locations in the San Francisco area, with many saying that retail crime was a factor.” 

“I will say this: We have some serious issues to work on in San Francisco,” city Supervisor Matt Dorsey told KGO.

“San Francisco has always had ups and downs, but I’m going to tell you we always come back. And I’m not going to lose my optimism about my district or my city,” Dorsey said.

As Nordstrom was moving out of Market Street, furniture manufacturer IKEA was moving in, opening a brand new store on Market Street. 

“The arrival of @IKEA is great news for the City’s economic recovery that will bring local jobs and excitement to the Union Square area,” Mayor London Breed said in a tweet earlier this month. “We are thrilled to welcome IKEA to be part of San Francisco’s future.”

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