Luxury chocolatier, Godiva, is getting out of the brick and mortar business in the United States, citing the pandemic as the reasoning for shuttering locations. Godiva, a nearly 100-year old luxury chocolatier, is quickly leaving the brick and mortar business in North America as a strategy to boost global online sales.
The company announced it would be closing or selling all 128 of its brick and mortar stores in North America, with plans to complete closures and sales by the end of March.
“The decision to close (North American stores) was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hard-working chocolatiers who will be impacted,” said Nurtac Afridi, newly appointed CEO. Afridi continued, “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.”
The Belgian chocolate maker announced plans to open 2,000 cafes serving pastries, sandwiches, coffee, and more worldwide over six years. The chocolatier opened its first US cafe of this kind in Manhattan, New York City, in April 2019 with plans to open more than 400 more across the United States. The move to wind down operations is a turn from their original growth plans.
Godiva cited the COVID-19 pandemic as a large contributing factor to declining sales at its stores in the U.S primarily located in shopping malls.
In 1926, Godiva Chocolatier was founded in Belgium. Today, it is a global leader in premium, artisan chocolate. Godiva Chocolatier continues to operate in over 100 countries, and it will continue to source its products from Belgium. The company also plans to keep its stores open across Europe, Greater China, and the Middle East.
Godiva is one of the hundreds of store closures amid a massive decline in in-person shopping during the pandemic.
Chocolate sales have been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. In 2020, Americans spent nearly $15 billion on chocolate, a 5 percent increase since 2019.
Godiva’s stores relied heavily on mall traffic, which saw a decline before the pandemic, but saw a rapid decrease once the pandemic hit. The chocolatiers sales in the U.S. are now hoping to drive all sales to online purchases to boost their online presence across North America. In a statement, Nurtac Afridi said the business would be shifting from in-store purchases to online orders through its own and partner websites. There is already a godiva.com digital business. However, fans will have the chance to experience the chocolatier through retailers such as Target, Walgreens, Costco, and wherever Godiva is sold.
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