Nearly half of the stores in downtown San Francisco have shuttered and fled since 2019.
In 2019, 203 storefronts were open in Union Square, and now it’s down to 107, the San Francisco Standard reported.
Old Navy, Whole Foods, AT&T, and Abercrombie & Fitch are amongst the 22 stores that have closed in the past 18 months.
Last month, Nordstroms announced it will be shuttering two of its stores by the end of summer, Breitbart reported. In an email to employees, the company’s CEO cited “the changing dynamics of downtown San Francisco” influenced the decision to vacate over 375,000 square feet of retail space.
Those “changing dynamics” affecting foot traffic include a spike in drug overdoses. Just this last month, 66 people died of fatal drug overdoses in San Francisco, and the city is on track to have more overdoses than 2020, the San Francisco Examiner reported. A man died of an overdose in the Whole Foods bathroom months before it closed.
The grocery store was only in operation for a little over a year.
Last year, Mothers Against Drug Addiction & Deaths put up a billboard in Union Square that reads “Famous the world over for our brains, beauty, and now, dirt-cheap fentanyl,” the New York Post reported.
A week and a half ago, Westfield Mall announced it will stop making payments on its mortgage.
“San Francisco Centre generated $455 million in sales in 2019, before the pandemic,” the Daily Mail reported. “Last year, sales were down about a third to $298 million.”
Two of the city’s largest hotels are following Westfield Mall’s move and ending mortgage payments.
The New York Post reported:
Park Hotels & Resorts CEO Thomas Baltimore predicted a “clouded and elongated” recovery in San Francisco while revealing plans to remove the hotels from its portfolio amid record office vacancy —44.7% of pre-pandemic levels, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday — and public safety concerns.
Stores that remain in business have stringent policies set in place to deter shoplifters.
The downtown San Francisco Target has certain merchandise like deodorant under lock and eye.