Godiva Will Close All Its U.S. Stores Due to the Pandemic
The Belgian chocolatier will still sell to retail outlets and online.
In the spring of 2019, Godiva opened its first cafe in New York City, where it served whipped cream-topped hot drinks, rich chocolate cookies and desserts, and a croissant-waffle combo that it called... the Croiffle. The Manhattan-headquartered chocolatier planned to open 10 more cafes in New York state within a year and to significantly increase the number of Godiva locations worldwide.
"We look forward to becoming a part of our consumer's daily life—whether it be breakfast, a midday snack or a sweet afternoon treat, and creating a destination that they want to visit in order to treat themselves beyond the usual holiday or special occasion," then-CEO Annie Young-Scrivner said at the time.
Less than two years later, Godiva has become the latest retail casualty of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, announcing that it will close all 128 of its brick-and-mortar locations (including those cafes) in the United States and Canada. According to a statement sent to Food & Wine the stores will be closed by the end of March.
"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," newly appointed CEO Nurtac Afridi said in a statement. "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 company said that it made the decision because the pandemic had changed the way its customers shop for chocolates—which is unsurprising since a sizeable share of Godiva stores are located inside shopping malls. It said that online sales have continued to grow this year, as have Godiva purchases at grocery stores and in other retailers that stock the chocolates.
So no, this isn't a reason to panic, chocolate-lovers. In her statement, Afridi said that the company plans to "increase [its] presence" at supermarkets, drugstores, and in other retail outlets, so you should still be able to find your favorite treats locally, or you can still order them through the website. (And this is also just a U.S. and Canada thing: Godiva stores in Greater China, Europe, and parts of the Middle East, will not be affected.)
"Of course, this decision was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hardworking chocolatiers who will be impacted," Afridi continued. "We are grateful for all they have done to make wonderful moments for our consumers and spread happiness through incredible customer service and living our values and behaviors."
Godiva declined to disclose how many employees will be affected by the closures.