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PCC is closing its downtown Seattle store

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Co-op PCC is closing its downtown Seattle location just two years after it opened, and following months of financial losses.

The PCC at 4th Avenue and Union Street in Seattle is scheduled to close Jan. 31, 2024.

“Despite an amazing team, fantastic store conditions, and a supportive landlord, our Downtown store has unfortunately remained unprofitable, and we do not see that changing for the foreseeable future,” CEO Krish Srinivasan said in a statement. “Since continued losses pose a significant financial risk to our co-op’s long-term viability, we are acting now.”

The co-op says that closing the downtown PCC is "an important and necessary step in that journey" to maintain its "long-term viability."

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About 80 people are employed at the downtown location and will be offered jobs at other PCC locations.

Following PCC's announcement, Downtown Seattle Association President Jon Scholes said in a statement that the closure is "disappointing and unfortunate news for downtown residents, workers, and visitors."

"Today’s announcement could be viewed as turbulence in downtown’s post-pandemic revitalization, but downtown’s overall flight path and progress remains positive with increasing foot traffic, a record residential population and more store openings than closings," Scholes said.

Tough times for PCC

In its announcement, PCC said that it initially planned for its downtown location in 2018, and opened the store in 2022, but the pandemic snarled its success. Managers expected the downtown co-op to serve a range of office workers during lunchtime, as well as grocery shoppers. Grocery shoppers have not shown up enough to keep doors open, according to a message to PCC members Wednesday.

In May, PCC also said that remote work had translated to less traffic from office workers. At the same time, PCC sent a message to its members stating that it had suffered a $250,000 loss in 2022, and in turn, they would not be receiving a dividend this year. The sluggish performance of the downtown location was one factor the co-op blamed for the financial hardship. It also blamed inflation and the city-mandated hazard pay during the pandemic.

“This is a challenging time for shoppers and for retailers,” Srinivasan told KUOW in May. “We're all navigating a post-pandemic society and figuring out post-pandemic ways of working, and the effect that that's been having on city centers, on retailing, and on the way people are behaving in this economic climate with their wallets is very telling.”

PCC's 2022 financial report stated that there was a 9% rise in company expenses, which could not be covered by a 6% increase in net sales and an 8% increase in memberships.

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After the downtown PCC closes, the co-op will have 15 locations in the Seattle area.

11/2/2023: This report has been updated to include a statement from Downtown Seattle Association President and CEO Jon Scholes.

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