WASHINGTON — Godiva is closing all of its U.S. stores as demand for in-person chocolate shopping has softened during the coronavirus pandemic.
The company plans to close or sell its 128 locations in North America, including 11 in Canada, by the end of March, Godiva confirmed in a statement. The company said it would not be disclosing how many employees would be impacted by the store closures.
Godiva plans to continue operating its retail stores in Europe, the Middle East and China.
The company, which was founded in Brussels in 1926, said demand for the in-person shopping experience offered by its stores "has waned as a result of the pandemic and its acceleration of changes in consumers’ shopping behavior."
Less than two years ago, the company announced a major expansion into the café business. In 2019, Godiva opened its first café concept in New York City and said at the time it planned to expand the model to more than 400 locations in the United States and 2,000 spots worldwide.
The luxury chocolate brand will continue to be available online and from its retail partners.
“Our brick & 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. “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.”