'A sad day': Nordstrom officially closes San Francisco flagship store

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Tuesday, August 29, 2023
Nordstrom closing SF flagship store Sunday after more than 30 years
The flagship Nordstrom in downtown San Francisco is closing for good on Sunday.

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco's flagship Nordstrom store is officially closed. Sunday marked the store's final day in business after 35 years downtown.

Nordstrom opened at the corner of 5th and Market Streets back in October 1988. The store spanned an impressive 312,000 square feet, occupying five floors of the San Francisco Centre mall.

"It's a sad day. It's a wonderful store. It's been an anchor in San Francisco," said Julie, a San Francisco resident.

RELATED: Inside the empty flagship Nordstrom in San Francisco, closing after more than 3 decades

With the downtown Nordstrom location in its final days, a once vibrant store is desolate with mannequins packaged away and many empty displays in sectioned-off areas.

Julie was one of the first shoppers riding the signature spiral escalator Sunday for Nordstrom's last day of business at the San Francisco Centre.

Leslie Simmons and her daughter hadn't heard the news.

"I didn't realize today was the last day. I'm glad we're here unexpectedly to walk around one last time," Simmons said.

The once vibrant store is now desolate with plenty of empty displays.

"It's kind of depressing, being a native of San Francisco, just seeing how downtown is kind of going away," said Denise Alexander from Oakland.

Nordstrom announced in May that it was closing the store due to declining sales. Employees say they were not surprised.

"It's definitely partially due to the crime in the area. COVID-19 had a big impact," said a Nordstrom employee.

This flagship store opened in 1988 and back then it was a big deal.

ABC7 News was there for Nordstrom's grand opening when 60,000 shoppers showed up on day one.

Alexander remembers it well.

"Coming up the escalator, being excited about it," Alexander said.

On Sunday, there was a large police presence on Market Street. The future of the San Francisco Centre mall is unknown.

"I will say this: We have some serious issues to work on in San Francisco," said San Francisco Supervisor Matt Dorsey.

Dorsey is optimistic.

"San Francisco has always had ups and downs, but I'm going to tell you, we always come back. And I'm not going to lose my optimism about my district or my city," he said.

Sales tax revenue for South of Market, or SoMA, where the mall is located, has seen a 25% drop when you compare the first quarter of 2019 to 2023.

The mayor's office says it's working on changing laws and reforming taxes to bring more businesses to the area.

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