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Macy's to close San Francisco store — workers blame city's shoplifting crisis: 'It happens every day'
David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Macy's to close San Francisco store — workers blame city's shoplifting crisis: 'It happens every day'

Democratic San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin released a statement Tuesday announcing Macy's plans to close its Union Square location.

Peskin stated that he was "devastated" to learn that Macy's will shut down 150 locations nationwide, including its San Francisco flagship store.

"Macy's was one of the last holdouts against the national trend of retail closures and consolidations, but as with every seeming blow to our downtown recovery, I see a potential opportunity," Peskin said. "This site is an opportunity development site, with potential for mixed-use, food & beverage and residential on the upper floors, even before the pandemic."

He noted that Macy's plans to keep the store open until the end of the year.

Peskin aims to revitalize the Union Square neighborhood by "aggressively marketing the development incentives and opportunities," building a new soundstage, and "streamlining permits and waiving fees" to host events.

"Every challenge can have a flip side with the right political will, so let's get to work," Peskin added.

According to Peskin, Macy's decision to shutter the San Francisco location was based on its goal to "invest in a small-format model." However, several employees told the San Francisco Standard that the area's rampant shoplifting crisis likely contributed to Macy's decision to close the 77-year-old Union Square location.

"It happens every day," employee Steve Dalisay told the news outlet, referring to theft.

"I think there just needs to be leadership," Dalisay continued. "The mayor just needs to say we won't tolerate this in the city."

Another worker, who asked the San Francisco Standard not to be identified, stated, "It's the theft, and that people aren't coming in."

The worker added, "Basically, the same thing that happened to the Nordstrom is happening to us."

In May, Nordstrom announced it would close two of its San Francisco locations, including its anchor store at Westfield Mall, Blaze News previously reported. The company's chief stores officer, Jamie Nordstrom, explained 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."

A third Macy's employee told the San Francisco Standard that shoplifters are often mobs of teens or drug users.

"I'm not in charge of making the estimates of how much we lose in a day, but last year we were told the losses were in the millions," he claimed.

"It's a big thing," the worker continued. "What we have learned is a lot of drug users have deals with the fencers. They'll give the drug users a list of stuff from the store, and they'll go try to execute the list."

Another worker told the news outlet the rampant shoplifting problem was "a contributing factor" to the store's closure.

One employee claimed that there are at least 20 thefts each day.

Jim Araby, vice president of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 5, which represents the store's employees, contended that shoplifting was not the primary factor in Macy's decision.

"We believe it has more to do with Macy's reorganizing their footprint under their new CEO and the pressure from outside investors trying to create a situation for a hostile takeover of the board," Araby told the news outlet.

When reached for comment, Macy's told the San Francisco Standard that it decided to close the 150 locations after it "rigorously evaluated every Macy's store and reviewed each market to determine the right mix of go-forward locations."

In a recent statement, Macy's chief executive officer, Tony Springs, said, "A Bold New Chapter serves as a strong call to action. It challenges the status quo to create a more modern Macy's, Inc. We are making the necessary moves to reinvigorate relationships with our customers through improved shopping experiences, relevant assortments, and compelling value."

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Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway

Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.
@candace_phx →