Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M has become the latest casualty in the slow collapse of SF's Union Square, as the company announces that it has permanently shuttered its West Coast flagship store on Powell Street.

SFGate brings word of the closure, saying that H&M will maintain its smaller locations at the Westfield Centre and Stonestown Galleria.

"Looking at our store portfolio and the location of our stores to adapt to changing customer behavior is something that has been part of our business concept for well over 70 years and we will constantly optimize and refine our physical store portfolio," H&M said in a statement.

H&M opened on Powell Street in 2005, establishing its West Coast flagship in San Francisco due to the city's European feel, as a company rep told the Chronicle at the time. The opening followed just a few years after H&M established a presence in New York City, setting off two decades of American fashionistas' love affair with affordable "fast fashion."

H&M announced last month that it had plans to close around 250 of its 5,000 locations nationwide — and sadly the 35,000-square-foot Union Square store is one of the first to go.

When this pandemic is over, Union Square is going to be a bit sad-looking, barring any new developments. Just two blocks down, at Powell and Market, The Gap closed its flagship store in August — a more dramatic announcement than this one given the fact that the company is based in San Francisco, and a reflection of The Gap's waning popularity in the already troubled retail landscape.

As the SF Business Times reported, more than a dozen other businesses have closed around the neighborhood since March. These include a location of luggage retailer Tumi on Grant Street, Farallon Restaurant, and Warby Parker on Stockton Street.

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