Of Course: Employees Say Shoplifting Was Rampant at San Francisco Macys

Alan Diaz

Yesterday I wrote about the announcement that Macys was closing about a third of its stores including the flagship store in San Francisco. What I tried to point out is that even if the closure of this store had more to do with corporate problems at Macys and a general trend toward online shopping which has impacted all brick and mortar stores, it's still bad news for the city. 


Regardless of why the store was closing (Macys cited "flagging sales") the fact remains that losing a major store downtown that employed 400 people is one more step in SF's ongoing doom loop. Less foot traffic downtown means less sales for big stores like Macys or for a downtown shopping district in general.

But this being San Francisco I should have known that wasn't the entire story. Today, the SF Standard reports this particular store was also the victim of near-constant shoplifting because of course it was.

“It happens every day,” employee Steve Dalisay said.

Hanging up blazers in the Macy’s sixth-floor men’s department, Dalisay said blazers, wallets and boxer briefs are the items most frequently stolen from his department. He said thieves take at least four blazers every day, adding that he typically sees about 10 wallets and 20 briefs stolen daily...

In the fourth-floor women's department, another employee who has been working at the Union Square Macy’s for more than 10 years insisted that theft and lower sales were the driving forces behind the closure.

“It’s the theft, and that people aren’t coming in,” said the worker, who did not want to be identified because employees aren't allowed to speak to reporters. "Basically, the same thing that happened to the Nordstrom is happening to us.”


Yet another employees said shoplifters fell into two basic categories. First were the drug-addicts who seemed to be targeting specific items. The employee said he had learned that these shoplifters often worked with a fence on the outside who would give the addicts lists of items they wanted to see boosted. 

The other category were groups of teens who came in and carried out merchandise in brazen thefts. The teens tended to target the store's stock of perfume and sun glasses. He noted that one teen had recently gotten away with Fendi sunglasses valued at $2,000.

These claims were backed up by two more employees, one of whom said the rampant theft was contributing toward the need to close the store. The other said she sees something like a dozen instances of shoplifting per day. 

Macys wouldn't give out any specific information about the San Francisco flagship store but one employee said he'd been told last year that the losses added up to millions over the year. 

So that's what is really happening at this store. Like so many others in the city, it is being targeted by shoplifters on a daily basis. That's clearly not the only factor behind the decision to close this store but it must be a factor the company has considered.


Meanwhile, Mayor London Breed was out yesterday assuring people that the closure had nothing to do with crime downtown. Who are you going to believe, the Mayor running for reelection or the store employees who work there?

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