Two years ago, San Francisco had 21 CVS stores, but as of January, we will be down to 12, with the Haight Street location now set to close.

CVS announced Wednesday that its location at 499 Haight Street (at Fillmore) will close on January 11. The store joins locations at 601 Mission Street and 1690 Folsom Street in closing within the last few months, following seven other closures since 2021.

This will leave the Lower Haight without a pharmacy, though customers will be able to go about five blocks to the Walgreens at 2145 Market Street.

A rep for the company, Amy Thibault, put out a statement calling the closure a "difficult decision."

"Maintaining access to pharmacy services in the communities we serve is an important factor we consider when making store closure decisions," the statement says. "Other factors include local market dynamics, population shifts, a community’s store density, and ensuring there are other geographic access points to meet the needs of the community."

The Lower Haight CVS has long been a target of petty theft, though that may not be the deciding factor in this store closure. About a year ago, the store reconfigured much of its stock, putting the majority of products behind locked plastic doors — and requiring help from security to shop in almost any aisle. Even the refrigerated beverage cases are under lock and key.

Meanwhile, CVS announced its intention in 2021 to close 900 stores nationwide, shrinking its overall footprint by 9%, and closing stores at a rate of 300 per year over three years.

CVS only entered the San Francisco market, which had previously been dominated by Walgreens and Rite Aid, about a decade and a half ago, rapidly opening a number of locations around the city. This story from 2013 described how LandMark Retail Group was rapidly expanding its CVS presence in California, with 13 stores open in the previous year and three opening in SF within 12 months.

CVS stores, like other pharmacies, have been the targets of organized retail thieves around the Bay Area. Fences like this guy, and these guys, deal in hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, and some of it, of course, ends up getting resold on the sidewalk outside the 24th and Mission BART station.