Macy’s Announces Closure of 150 Stores Across the US, Including Union Square in San Francisco

Macy’s Announces Closure of 150 Stores Across the US, Including Union Square in San Francisco
Cover Image Source: Pedestrians walk by a Macy's store | Photo by Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

In a recent announcement, retail giant Macy's revealed plans to shut down 150 stores nationwide over the next two years, with the iconic Union Square store in San Francisco being among those facing closure. This decision has stirred various emotions and sparked discussions about the future of retail.

The Macy's store on Herald Square is seen on January 19, 2024 in New York City | Getty Images
The Macy's store on Herald Square | Getty Images

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San Francisco Mayor London Breed acknowledged the significance of Macy's to the city, stating its role as "more than just a department store but a symbol of shared cultural experiences." She emphasized that while the closure is a business decision on the company's part, it's hard to imagine the city without the iconic store that has been the go-to for generations.

"Union Square store will be shuttered in the second phase of closures, but the store will remain open, and employees will still have jobs until then. It will also take time to sell the 400,000-square-foot property," she said.



 

Marisa Rodriguez, CEO of the Union Square Alliance, expressed sadness over the announcement. "Macy’s will remain open and could still be open for years to come. In all likelihood, there will be a holiday shopping season and Macy’s Great Tree in 2024," she stated.

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While the closure of the retail giant's Union Square store has captured attention, the fate of the Bay Area stores, such as those in Concord, Santa Rosa, Pleasanton, and Walnut Creek, remains uncertain.

"For generations, Macy's has been synonymous with Union Square. I believe that we should work toward a solution that allows Macy’s to keep this iconic store open," Rodriguez added.

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People walk around the Macy's store on Herald Square on January 19, 2024 in New York City. Macy's department-store chain announced that they will be laying off roughly 2,350 employees which is about 3.5% of their workforce. The company says that it will also be closing five stores in order to adjust to the online-shopping era | Photo by Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images
People walk around the Macy's store on Herald Square | Photo by Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

The decision to close stores, including the flagship Union Square location, reflects Macy's efforts to adapt to changing market dynamics and improve profitability. "They've been trying to restructure and find strategies to find a path to success into the future. Right now, there's just so much competition," said Ray Wimer, professor of retail practice at Syracuse University.

Despite seeing a decline in sales, particularly during the 2023 holiday season, the company remains the largest department store chain in the nation, encompassing not only Macy's stores but also Bloomingdale's and Bluemercury.



 

To stay competitive, Macy's new CEO, Tony Spring, plans to focus on enhancing the customer experience and shifting towards higher-end luxury brands and skincare cosmetics. While the closure of the stores represents a significant downsizing for the company, Bloomingdale's is expected to expand, with plans to open new stores in the coming years.

In response to the closure announcement, San Francisco politicians have begun discussing opportunities for the future use of the Macy's site. Mayor Breed emphasized the importance of ensuring that any future development is profitable and continues to attract visitors to the area.

The Macy's company logo is seen at the Macy's store on Herald Square on January 19, 2024 in New York City. Macy's department-store chain announced that they will be laying off roughly 2,350 employees which is about 3.5% of their workforce. The company says that it will also be closing five stores in order to adjust to the online-shopping era Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images
The Macy's company logo is seen at the Macy's store on Herald Square | Photo by Michael M. Santiago | Getty Images

Supervisor Aaron Peskin expressed his devastation over Macy's downsizing plan but sees an opportunity to transform the space into a mixed-use development, potentially including a new sound stage in Union Square to host world-class performances.

For businesses like John's Grill, located near Macy's Union Square, the closure represents the end of an era. Established shortly after the 1906 earthquake, John's Grill has been intertwined with the retail outlet for decades, welcoming generations of patrons during the holiday season. Despite the loss, they remain optimistic about embracing the next chapter in downtown San Francisco's evolution.

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