Nordstrom to leave downtown San Francisco after 35 years due to city’s deteriorating conditions of high violence and crime
By Ramon Tomey // May 05, 2023

Department store chain Nordstrom has announced that it will leave downtown San Francisco after 35 years in business there due to the city's deteriorating condition.


Nordstrom Chief Stores Officer Jamie Nordstrom wrote in a May 2 letter to employees: "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 executive's letter also detailed that it will instead focus on its 16 other locations in the Bay Area and its online sales, as per the San Francisco Business Times.

Citing the San Francisco Standard, a report by Breitbart said the retailer's location at Westfield San Francisco Center will close at the end of August. A nearby Nordstrom Rack, the off-price counterpart to the main department store, will close on July 1. The Standard added that the closures will free up 375,000 square feet of retail space.

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the owner of the upscale shopping mall, is aware that the closures are linked to the city's situation. Nordstrom has been one of the mall's biggest tenants since it opened in 1988 – until its impending closure in August.

"The planned closure of Nordstrom underscores the deteriorating situation in downtown San Francisco," the mall owner said in a statement. "A growing number of retailers and businesses are leaving the area due to the unsafe conditions for customers, retailers and employees – coupled with the fact that these significant issues are preventing an economic recovery of the area."

Nordstrom had earlier closed its Stonestown Galleria location in 2019. The office of San Francisco Mayor London Breed, meanwhile, said Nordstrom's location at the shopping center was a subject of concern way before the City by the Bay's recent collapse.

"Westfield came to us a number of years ago with concerns about the long-term viability of this location for Nordstrom," the mayor's office said. "The city has been eager to get a concrete plan from them that we could explore. However, [Nordstrom] never brought us anything for review."

Nordstrom closure comes amid San Francisco's collapse

Breitbart pointed out that Westfield's dwindling foot traffic is attributable to the rise of online shopping even before the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. However, public safety issues have become a great risk for Nordstrom and other stores in the City by the Bay.

According to the Standard, the Westfield's front entrances located at Stevenson and Fifth Streets are considered hotspots for police data. It added that the intersection is the 21st most dispatched in all of San Francisco, with 586 calls for law enforcement in the area in 2023.

The paper also reported that 20 retail stores in the Union Square area where Westfield is located have closed or announced plans to shut down permanently since 2020. Eight store closures have been announced for this year alone.

Even the National Retail Federation attested to the collapse of San Francisco. The federation's 2022 retail security survey found that the San Francisco/Oakland area was the second most-affected area in the country for theft in 2020 and 2021, second only to Los Angeles. (Related: Businesses continue to shutter in San Francisco due to rampant shoplifting.)

California State Sen. Scott Wiener described the Nordstrom closure as "horrible and tragic" in a tweet. The Democratic senator represents San Francisco in the California State Legislature's upper chamber.

Wiener reiterated that "current conditions are untenable for San Francisco's future success," and underscored the need to re-imagine downtown San Francisco and address public safety concerns.

Visit for more stories about store closures in San Francisco.

Watch Gabor "Gabe" Zolna recounting a November 2021 incident involving looters raiding a Nordstrom store in Walnut Creek, California.

This video is from the channel on

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Whole Foods leaves downtown San Francisco one year after opening due to rampant crime.

Walgreens shutters 5 more San Francisco branches due to "ongoing organized retail crime."

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