Amid the seemingly infinite challenges that we have encountered due to the dreaded coronavirus as well as the political and cultural upheavals that we have witnessed over the last year, there seems to be more bad news and this time chocolate lovers are getting a kick in the collective gut.
It has been reported that the iconic Godiva luxury chocolate chain of stores will be closing or selling all 128 of its stores in North America, which includes all of its U.S. locations, by the end of March, as was reported by NBC New York.
“Demand for the in-person shopping experience offered through GODIVA’s brick and mortar locations has waned as a result of the pandemic and its acceleration of changes in consumers’ shopping behavior,” the company said in an emailed statement to TODAY Food.
Godiva products will still be available to buy online, as well as through its grocery, club and retail partners, the company told the Today show. CNN reported that Godiva will keep its stores open across Europe, Middle East and Greater China. The company did not disclose information on how many employees would be let go because of the closures.
“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,” Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi said in a statement, as was reported by NBC New York. “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.
“This decision was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hard-working chocolatiers who will be impacted,” she continued, as was reported by NBC New York. “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.”
CNN reported that Godiva opened its first cafe in the United States in New York City in April 2019 and announced that it planned on opening 10 more cafes in New York and more than 400 across the United States. It was part of a plan to open 2,000 new cafes around the world. But that plan never came to fruition. Godiva relied heavily on mall traffic, which has been plummeting even before the pandemic.
NBC New York reported that in August, Pizza Hut announced it would be closing up to 300 underperforming locations, and in October, IHOP announced it would be closing nearly 100 locations. Several businesses have also filed for bankruptcy over the past year, including California Pizza Kitchen and the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese.