SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Downtown San Francisco has taken on a “post-apocalyptic” feel due to closed retail establishments, according to a tweet from Elon Musk. Following the recent announcement that Nordstrom would be closing its longstanding Bay Area flagship store at Westfield San Francisco Centre and a nearby Nordstrom Rack location, the city’s seemingly struggling retail economy has been back in the spotlight.
City leaders like Supervisor Matt Dorsey, who represents the district where Nordstrom is located, have lamented the closures, expressing disappointment and blaming the closures on “unsafe conditions.” The right-leaning media has also been quick to seize on the Nordstrom closures as the latest evidence of San Francisco’s deterioration.
Now, Twitter’s owner has weighed in, tweeting “So many stores shuttered in downtown SF. Feels post-apocalyptic,” in response to a tweet about car break-ins from a club for Tesla owners.
Musk has not been shy about weighing in on the state of the city since taking charge at Twitter late last year. Last month, following the fatal stabbing of Cash App founder Bob Lee, Musk tweeted that “Many people I know have been severely assaulted,” and that “violent crime in SF is horrific.”
That tweet was later called out by SF District Attorney Brooke Jenkins, who accused Musk of “reckless and irresponsible” statements. Days after Lee was killed, police announced that the tech CEO was stabbed by a fellow tech entrepreneur, rather than in a random street crime.
While statistically, San Francisco has been shown to have less violent crime than other major cities, property crime in the city does remain high. The announced Nordstrom closures are the latest in a rash of retail closures in the downtown and Union Square neighborhoods. The one-time retail hub has seen stores including Abercrombie & Fitch, Anthropologie, Whole Foods, Saks Off Fifth, H&M, and Uniqlo all close stores, or announce upcoming closures.
While many of the closures have cited rampant shoplifting and unsafe conditions for employees as factors, changing retail shopping habits and a pivot to remote work that’s emptied downtown of workers are also thought to be factors in retail’s struggles.