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Nordstrom to shutter both downtown San Francisco stores, citing difficult conditions

A shopper carries a Nordstrom bag as he walks along Market Street in San Francisco on July 29, 2011. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Nordstrom is planning to close both of its Downtown San Francisco stores, choosing not to renew its lease obligations at its location in the Westfield Mall. It will also close a second nearby Downtown Nordstrom Rack.

The retailer confirmed the closures on Tuesday. In an email to employees, the company’s chief stores officer wrote that “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 two planned closures represent about 357,500 square feet of retail space, according to the San Francisco Business Times, which first reported Nordstrom’s plans. The Westfield mall Nordstrom and the Nordstrom Rack will close at the end of August and on July 1, respectively.

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Nordstrom in San Francisco | Kimberly White/Getty Images for ELLE | Source: Kimberly White/Getty Images for Elle

The Westfield mall and its owner, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, said in a statement that the planned closure “underscores the deteriorating situation in Downtown San Francisco.”

“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,” the statement said.

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The mall’s owner went on to say that it had expressed serious concerns to city leaders for many years and “urged the city to find solutions to the key issues and lack of enforcement against rampant criminal activity.”

Nordstrom also announced that it would expand its presence in California, opening five new Nordstrom Rack stores in cities across the state, including one in San Mateo.

The news of Nordstrom’s Downtown exit comes less than a month after Whole Foods closed its flagship store nearby at Eighth and Market streets. The company blamed the closure on concerns about staff safety and deteriorating conditions in the area.

As of today, a total of 20 retailers have shuttered stores or announced closures in the Union Square area since 2020, up from 17 just a week ago.

While many of these closures are in the district officially known as Union Square, many are located on the surrounding streets, including the San Francisco Centre and the areas on the south side of Market Street.

Saks OFF 5th, a sister store to Saks Fifth Avenue, is also planning to close a location on the same block as Nordstrom Rack this year, a spokesperson for the chain confirmed.

A spokesperson for Mayor London Breed’s office pointed to a number of public safety efforts in the area, including two dedicated police officers inside Westfield mall and community ambassadors deployed in the area, and said it had worked to improve the long-term viability of retailers.

“The City worked with [Westfield] to approve an office allocation and plan to reduce Nordstrom’s square footage and bring in additional office uses to the property. This plan made it through the Planning Commission but no further steps were taken on this plan,” said the spokesperson. “Westfield then began speaking about other options for redevelopment. The City has been eager to get a concrete plan from them that we could explore, however, they never brought us anything for review.”

Annie Gaus can be reached at

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