Old Navy announced on Friday that it will close its flagship store in downtown San Francisco this summer, making the company the latest major retailer to abandon the crime-ridden city’s central area this year.
According to a statement from Old Navy’s parent company Gap, quoted by NBC, the store in Market Street will close on July 1 after almost three decades in business since it opened in 1999.
The company has denied that the reason for shutting down the store is in any way related to the recent rise in crime in downtown San Francisco, saying that Old Navy could better serve its customers elsewhere.
In a statement released on Friday, Gap said that the “difficult decision” to close the Market Street store was taken during a process to reevaluate its real-estate portfolio “to ensure a healthy fleet of stores.” The company added that it’s “already working to identify new locations in downtown San Francisco that will better serve the needs of the business and our customers.”
“Gap Inc. has deep roots in San Francisco and is committed to the city,” the statement continued.
The Old Navy store in Market Street has reportedly been hit by rampant shoplifting in recent weeks, a common problem for stores in downtown San Francisco.
While Gap has not said a rise in crime in downtown San Francisco is the motive behind its decision to close the Market Street store, other major retailers have specifically mentioned shoplifting and high inflation as the main reasons behind their stores’ closures in the past few years.
In May, online news website SFGATE reported that T-Mobile had closed its flagship store in San Francisco’s Union Square a month before. In April, Whole Foods shut its downtown San Francisco store after just a year of business, with bosses saying they were unable to “ensure the safety” of their staff in the city. Nordstrom followed suit, leaving the city central district earlier in May.
Old Navy, which announced it would close both of its stores downtown, blamed the changing dynamics in the San Francisco market over the past few years for the closures.
In 2021, Target announced reduced night hours in some of its San Francisco stores because of the city’s rise in shoplifting and thefts. Later in the same year, Walgreens reported the closures of five of its stores in the city because of a rise in “organized retail crime.”
Newsweek has contacted Gap for comment by email.
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