Godiva is planning to exit the brick-and-mortar retail business.
The luxury chocolatier announced it will close or sell its 128 locations in North America amid weak in-store visits during the pandemic. It expects to complete the closures and sales by the end of March.
Godiva owns and operates more than 600 namesake stores in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia. The company said it will still “maintain retail operations across Europe, Middle East and Greater China in formats that reflect the unique cultural preferences of those markets.”
It’s a big change for the company which less than two years ago said it planned to expand into the café business. Godiva opened its first U.S. café in spring 2019, in New York City. At the time, it planned to open some 2,000 cafes by 2025, including more than 400 across the country.
“Our brick-and-mortar locations in North America have had a clear purpose since we first opened our doors in this market - to provide an in-person experience for consumers to enjoy the world’s most exquisite chocolates,” said Nurtac Afridi, who took the reins as Godiva CEO in December.
“We have always been focused on what our consumers need and how they want to experience our brand, which is why we have made this decision.”
Godiva, which is owned by Yildiz Holding, will continue to sell its products in the U.S. through grocery, specialty stores, department stores and other outlets as well as online.
“We are making it even easier for our consumers to enjoy Godiva, whether that’s by treating themselves or gifting, so that everyone can have access to our premium chocolate,” Afridi said.