Home>Articles>Anthropologie Becomes Latest Retail Chain Store to Leave SF’s Union Square

San Francisco from San Francisco Headlands and Golden Gate bridge, San Francisco, CA. (Photo: Kropic1/Shutterstock)

Anthropologie Becomes Latest Retail Chain Store to Leave SF’s Union Square

‘The city just keeps dragging its feet on this issue – there’s no real relief in sight’

By Evan Symon, April 25, 2023 12:29 pm

The women’s clothing store Anthropologie announced on Tuesday that it would be closing its Union Square location in San Francisco next month, becoming the latest major retailer to vacate the city this year.

Since the beginning of the decade, a mix of crime, high rents, fewer shoppers visiting San Francisco locations, and the lack of security in many areas have led to countless stores either leaving or closing in many prominent areas of the city, including Union Square. Stores such as the Gap’s flagship store left Union Square all the way back in August 2020, with others such as the H&M West Coast flagship store, Uniqlo, Nordstrom, and DSW leaving the next year. Not helping matters were huge crime waves in and around Union Square targeting luxury retailers in late 2021 and late 2022. As a result, even more bolted. And that’s not even getting into what was happening citywide with major chains such as Walgreens leaving en masse and vacancy rates now climbing above 30%.

So far this year, more retailers have left Union Square including the RealReal and CB2. So much open space has opened up in the area that the city has targeted Union Square as one of its focus areas for its office to housing conversion ordinance. Crime and public safety concerns have also not slowed down, as other nearby “flagship” stores, such as the one-year-old Whole Foods location, have shut down. The closing of Anthropologie is only the latest in the long line of retailers leaving.

Anthropologie was one of the longest-running retail stores in Union Square, having been there for over two decades, surviving multiple downturns including the dot-com crash, the Great Recession, and even the recent COVID-19 shutdowns. While Anthropologie and it’ parent company, URBN, have not commented on the Union Square closing, the crime, cost, lower foot traffic, and public safety factors all likely played a part in the decision to leave.

“If a store is leaving Union Square, it’s because of at least two of those reasons,” Richard Wallace, who helped manage a high-end store in the Square until earlier this year, told the Globe Tuesday. “Everyone is very concerned about robberies, but also what, if anything, the police will do about them. They’re worried about rent going up. They’re worried that they aren’t seeing as many customers as before since less people are working around there. They’re worried that more smashed store fonts will only keep people away again. Stores that leave give at least some of these as reasons.”

“San Francisco is so concerned about stores leaving. Then protect them better. Stop having people be afraid to shop downtown or in other places. Give people ease-of-mind for nothing bad to happen. And for stores, curb these crazy rent prices. Deter theft. Stop these crime waves that are quickly becoming a new holiday tradition. It’s been getting ridiculous.”

“Every time that I or someone else I know who worked there sees a closing, we know the reasons why. We all do. But the city just keeps dragging its feet on this issue and no one is getting a break on it. There’s no real relief in sight. It’s really hard to feel empathy for all these luxury stores where a handbag costs the same as a car for some, but they contribute taxes  and employment to the city too. Losing them means less money in the coffers for the city, and the last thing they seem to want to do is curb spending on projects.”

Other stores in Union Square and other areas around the city may be leaving soon as well due to many approaching lease end-dates.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Evan Symon
Spread the news:


16 thoughts on “Anthropologie Becomes Latest Retail Chain Store to Leave SF’s Union Square

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *