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At&T to close downtown San Francisco flagship store

AT&T’s flagship store at 1 Powell St. in Downtown San Francisco is closing. | George Kelly/The Standard

Telecommunications giant AT&T will close the company’s Downtown San Francisco flagship store, the company told The Standard.

“Consumer shopping habits continue to change, and we’re changing with them,” AT&T spokesperson Chris Collins said on Thursday, confirming the closure. “That means serving customers where they are through the right mix of retail stores, digital channels and our phone-based care team.” 

Collins said there are still two AT&T locations within one mile of 1 Powell St., the Financial District store at 425 Market St. and the Chinatown store at 851 Clay St. AT&T has over 10 stores and licensed retailers across San Francisco.

The closure isn’t unique to San Francisco. The Union Square store will shutter Aug. 1, a similar store in Chicago on Michigan Avenue will close the same day, leaving the nation’s only AT&T flagship store in Dallas. 

“We are proud of our continued presence in the community, not only through our retail stores and our local investment in world-class connectivity with our 5G and fiber networks,” said Collins. “All retail employees affected by this change will be offered jobs at one of our other many retail locations within the city.”

Tourists wait in line for the cable car near the entrance to AT&T's flagship store at 1 Powell St. in Downtown San Francisco. | George Kelly/The Standard

One staff member at the Powell Street location who spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to speak to the press said their supervisor confirmed the August closure date on Wednesday.

The news dials up the tension for San Francisco’s embattled Union Square shopping district, coming a day after Wednesday’s announcement Cinemark will shutter its Westfield San Francisco Centre movie theater. 

An analysis by The Standard shows 46% of the Westfield’s stores have closed since the pandemic, another analysis shows Union Square has lost at least 17 stores since 2020.

The store has benefited over the years from its prominent position at the foot of Powell Street on Market Street, drawing a steady thrum of foot traffic from nearby BART and Muni stations. Its 24,000-square-foot space saw employees sell cell phones, network plans, tablets and high-end gadgets since September 2016 from the Baroque-style building that formerly housed a Bank of America.

According to data shared by San Francisco police, officers responded to fifteen specific incidents from Jan. 1 to May 5 at the store’s address, as well as at a next-door bank ATM and at the Muni station. Those incidents involved assaults, robberies and disorderly-conduct investigations.

Steps from the store’s entrance, musician Brian Compton and TikTok star Littlehappy28 performed classic tunes by the Smiths and the Beatles for dozens of tourists waiting at the Powell and Mason cable car turnaround.

“I’ve heard lots of things are closing down nearby,” Compton said, pointing across the street to the Westfield. “Old Navy over there and the mall here—so AT&T, it wouldn’t surprise me.”

The planned AT&T shutdown marks the 25th major business closure in the Union Square area since the start of the pandemic.

George Kelly can be reached at