American Eagle announced it is closing its doors at the former Westfield San Francisco Centre over the summer, citing more 100 significant security incidents that allegedly occurred between May 2020 and May 2023. The Westfield American Eagle outlet is seen here

Yet another retailer is leaving Downtown San Francisco amid the city’s spiraling crime and homeless crises –  at the especially embattled San Francisco Centre mall.

American Eagle announced it is closing its doors at the former Westfield San Francisco Centre over the summer, citing more 100 significant security incidents that allegedly occurred between May 2020 and May 2023.

The offenses consisted of patrons brandishing firearms and verbally assaulting store employees, amid a mass exodus of other outlets predated by the pandemic.

One of the last-standing bastions of the mall, American Eagle had occupied a large space at the building’s main entrance for years, employing 52 employees.

A suit against the mall’s former owners filed by the clothing chain’s parent company accuses them of allowing it to fall into a sad state. The store is slated to close July 12 as a result – four years before its lease was set to expire.

American Eagle announced it is closing its doors at the former Westfield San Francisco Centre over the summer, citing more 100 significant security incidents that allegedly occurred between May 2020 and May 2023. The Westfield American Eagle outlet is seen here

American Eagle announced it is closing its doors at the former Westfield San Francisco Centre over the summer, citing more 100 significant security incidents that allegedly occurred between May 2020 and May 2023. The Westfield American Eagle outlet is seen here

A map reveals the major businesses which have left, or have announced they are leaving, San Francisco in recent months. Retailers like Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Old Navy, AmazonGo, Saks Off Fifth and now American Eagle are among those taking part in the mass exodus

A map reveals the major businesses which have left, or have announced they are leaving, San Francisco in recent months. Retailers like Whole Foods, Anthropologie, Old Navy, AmazonGo, Saks Off Fifth and now American Eagle are among those taking part in the mass exodus

‘Westfield cannot walk away from the harm that it has caused without consequence,’ an excerpt of the lawsuit filed in San Francisco Superior Court reads, claiming the New Jersey-based firm let the historic mall ‘deteriorate into disarray’.

‘It must be held accountable for the damages caused by its failures and broken promises’, Schottenstein Stores Corp added in the filing.

The suit, filed in September, is making its way through the city’s court system. 

It contends mall operators are just as much at fault as the city for the recent state of the mall, after Westfield and co-owner Brookfield Properties in June announced a decision to default on a $558 million loan for the property.

That maneuver, they said, stemmed from inaction from the San Francisco government in addressing ‘rampant criminal activity,’ which reduced sales and foot traffic.

That account is consistent with those of other store owners at the mall who continue to announce closures even with facility already half-empty, with Zara and The North Face leaving in March and Macy’s the month before.

Unlike American Eagle, officials at those stores did not provide a reason – but joined roughly three dozen others to close abruptly over the past three years. 

Workers at the Macy’s, however, told The San Francisco Standard they believe the decision was made because of daily rampant shoplifting, with thieves taking at least four blazers, 10 wallets and 20 packs of underwear a day on a regular basis, they said.

The retailer is the latest to leave Downtown San Francisco and its especially embattled San Francisco Centre mall

The retailer is the latest to leave Downtown San Francisco and its especially embattled San Francisco Centre mall

Formerly the Westfield San Francisco Centre, the mall has been rocked by more than a dozen closures over the past three years, leaving it half empty

Formerly the Westfield San Francisco Centre, the mall has been rocked by more than a dozen closures over the past three years, leaving it half empty

This included fashion retailer Nordstrom and the Cinemark multi-screen movie complex, capped by an October exit from Express as well

This included fashion retailer Nordstrom and the Cinemark multi-screen movie complex, capped by an October exit from Express as well

In October 2023, San Francisco Superior Court judge appointed Gregg Williams to 'take possession, custody and control' of the troubled San Francisco Centre, granting it a new name and a new strategy

In October 2023, San Francisco Superior Court judge appointed Gregg Williams to ‘take possession, custody and control’ of the troubled San Francisco Centre, granting it a new name and a new strategy

A suit against the mall's former owners filed by the clothing chain's parent company accuses them of allowing it to fall into a sad state. The store is slated to close July 12 as a result

A suit against the mall’s former owners filed by the clothing chain’s parent company accuses them of allowing it to fall into a sad state. The store is slated to close July 12 as a result

‘I think there just needs to be leadership,’ Employee Steve Dalisay told The Standard, after working at the firm’s flagship in mall for some 20 years. ‘The mayor just needs to say we won’t tolerate this in the city.’

Another employee, who works in the fourth-floor women’s department, also blamed ‘theft and that people aren’t coming in’ for the closure, while a third worker added thieves often go after men’s Ralph Lauren Polo, North Face and Levi’s clothing.

H&M, Crate & Barrel, The Gap, Uniqlo and Barney’s, meanwhile, all remain vacant years after they shut down during the early days of the pandemic, when a wave of crime hit the Union Square area.

The mall at 865 Market St, a stalwart in the city since 1986, was not spared, as the street it was on became a haven for open drug use and homeless encampments.

It has seen a steady departure of stores since, losing some its most prominent tenants in the past year,

This included fashion retailer Nordstrom and the Cinemark multi-screen movie complex, capped by an October 2023 exit from Express as well.

That month, San Francisco Superior Court judge appointed Gregg Williams to ‘take possession, custody and control’ of the troubled San Francisco Centre, granting it a new name and a new strategy.

A new logo, signs and website are reportedly in the works, but crime and high rates of homelessness in the famously progressive metropolis persists.

Meanwhile, crime and high rates of homelessness in the famously progressive metropolis persists, especially in the surrounding Downtown area and nearby Mission District. A man is seen sleeping outside the mall this year

Meanwhile, crime and high rates of homelessness in the famously progressive metropolis persists, especially in the surrounding Downtown area and nearby Mission District. A man is seen sleeping outside the mall this year

Back in April, Mayor London N. Breed announced new measures approved by the voters to improve public safety - particularly in the city's hard hit districts

Back in April, Mayor London N. Breed announced new measures approved by the voters to improve public safety – particularly in the city’s hard hit districts

A person is sleeping in the mall this year, after it was forced to darken about four floors due to the closures

A person is sleeping in the mall this year, after it was forced to darken about four floors due to the closures

It comes even after many were torn down before a November visit from Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping, putting more pressure on the local government for a more permanent cleanup

It comes even after many were torn down before a November visit from Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping, putting more pressure on the local government for a more permanent cleanup

The lawsuit from those who run American Eagle - which has a market cap of roughly $4.8 billion - serves as one of the most recent examples of this stark public outcry, and points out how Westfield even closed its management office in the mall during this period, as stores suffered

The lawsuit from those who run American Eagle – which has a market cap of roughly $4.8 billion – serves as one of the most recent examples of this stark public outcry, and points out how Westfield even closed its management office in the mall during this period, as stores suffered

The suit further alleges Westfield neglected security measures and basic mall management required by American Eagle's lease, which was penned after the pandemic began in 2020

The suit further alleges Westfield neglected security measures and basic mall management required by American Eagle’s lease, which was penned after the pandemic began in 2020

Back in April, Mayor London N. Breed announced new measures approved by the voters to improve public safety – particularly in the city’s hard hit Downtown and Mission districts, where few blocks away, on 7th and Mission across the Nancy Pelosi Federal Building, photos show encampments continuing to surface in certain areas.

That comes even after many were torn down before a November visit from Chinese Prime Minister Xi Jinping, putting  more pressure on the local government for a more permanent cleanup.

The lawsuit from American Eagle – which has a market cap of roughly $4.8 billion – serves as one of the most recent examples of this stark public outcry, and points out how Westfield even closed its management office in the mall during this period, all as still-operating stores suffered.

The suit further alleges Westfield neglected security measures and basic mall management required by American Eagle’s lease, which was penned after the pandemic began in 2020.

This, the Ohio-based Schottenstein Stores Corp wrote, left employees ‘to suffer’ and ‘respond to gun violence, physical assaults, burglaries, and robberies’ on their own. 

The firm is seeking actual and compensatory monetary damages due to the alleged breach of contract by way of the lease, which was set to run through 2028.

Despite the announcement,  American Eagle Outfitters reported a respectable fourth-quarter revenue jump of about $1.7 billion, a 12 percent increase from the year before

Jay Schottenstein, the company’s CEO, said in a statement at the time, ‘We are entering 2024 with momentum and from a position of strength with an exciting line-up of innovation and customer engagement initiatives.’

He and other staffers said the store’s locations in San Mateo, Concord, Livermore and Pleasanton will stay open.

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