Union Square store is the last major retailer to close in downtown SF

DSW is closing its San Francisco shoe store in Union Square, a customer service representative confirmed to The Chronicle on Tuesday.

The main store entrance at 400 Post Street has a green “closed” sign. Customers are only allowed to pick up orders online, the representative said. The four-storey store opened in 2012.

It is the latest in a series of major closures fueled by a pandemic in the downtown area, exacerbating an already difficult time for retailers due to the increase in online shopping and the high cost of rents and operations. The precise reason for DSW’s shutdown was unclear, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for more details. It was not clear how many workers will be made redundant.

In March, parent company Designer Brands of DSW announced it could close 65 U.S. stores over the next four years, including 24 locations in 2021. The stores, which have not been identified, have lease expiries at coming, but some leases could be renewed.

“As in-store traffic remains limited and consumers continue to choose to buy online and forgo going in-store, we are closely evaluating our existing store infrastructure,” Jared Poff said at the time, Chief Financial Officer of Designer Brands.

Designer Brands, which also owns Shoe Company and Shoe Warehouse, has seen a rebound in business. Net sales increased 66.9% to $ 817.3 million during the three months between May and July compared to the previous year. Net profit was $ 42.9 million. The company had a total of 515 stores in the United States and 143 in Canada at the end of July.

Many other large retailers have closed in downtown San Francisco during the pandemic, including Gap, H&M, Marshals and Uniqlo. Walgreens said last month it would close five stores across town, citing shoplifting as the reason. Nordstrom Rack closed its doors at 555 Ninth St. in October, resulting in 41 layoffs, according to state filings.

Kazuko Morgan, a Cushman & Wakefield retail broker who was not involved with the DSW building, said there had been some improvement in the Union Square area, despite continued store closings.

In August, jewelry company Brilliant Earth leased space at 300 Grant St., a new retail and office building where Morgan is the rental agent. Outdoor clothing retailer Arc’teryx also signed a lease on the building a year ago. Swiss watchmaker Omega also recently opened a store at 103 Geary St.

“We have several leases in progress. We have a good touring activity. As long as the current climate continues, we feel great for 2022, ”Morgan said.

International travelers who have been vaccinated and tested negative for COVID-19 can now travel to the United States, a change starting this week that is expected to strengthen San Francisco’s hospitality and retail sectors. The JPMorgan healthcare conference also returns in January, which helps the region, Morgan said.

“We feel really good in Union Square. It has not returned to normal. There are tourists. There are a lot of foreign languages, ”she said.

Column staff writer JD Morris contributed reporting.

Roland Li is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @rolandlisf

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