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Westfield to give up San Francisco mall as fewer shoppers hit occupancy levels


(Reuters) – Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield will transfer its Westfield San Francisco shopping mall to lenders after 20 years, as it battles declining customer visits, occupancy and sales amid rising crime rates in the city.

Last week, Park Hotels & Resorts said it ceased making payments toward a $725 million mortgage linked to its Hilton San Francisco Union Square and Parc 55 hotels, citing record high office vacancy and lower return to office than peer cities.

“Since 2019 foot traffic has decreased to 5.6 million visits (Dec 2022 YTD) from 9.7 million, a 43% drop at a time when our US Flagship portfolio has seen a 98% recovery,” Westfield said late on Monday.

Sales declined to $298 million in December 2022 from $455 million in 2019, it added.

Occupancy levels have dropped to 55% after popular brands such as apparel retailers Nordstrom and Gap-owned Banana Republic announced store closures owing to difficulty in operations.

The company said in May after Nordstrom’s decision that a growing number of retailers and businesses are leaving the area due to unsafe conditions for customers, retailers, and employees.

(Reporting by Granth Vanaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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