The days of browsing the shelves at a Godiva store and contemplating all the delicious treats is coming to an end — at least in North America. The luxury chocolatier announced it will shutter all 128 of its branded brick and mortar outlets through a mixture of sales and closures by the end of the first quarter.
In a press release announcing the closures, the company cites the decline in sales during the coronavirus pandemic and the shift away from retail shopping as the reasons for its decision. These changes will not affect the company's locations in Europe, China, or the Middle East.
“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. “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.”
Currently, Godvia operates seven stores in Texas, including four in the Houston area: Galleria, Baybrook, Willowbrook, and the Houston Premium Outlets. Three more operate in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Godiva chocolates will continue to be available through other retails stores as well as its website. The company has not disclosed how many employees will be laid off as a result of these changes.
"Of course, this decision was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hardworking chocolatiers who will be impacted," Afridi said. "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's decision comes as a surprise. In 2019, the company opened its first cafe concept in New York City. At the time, it planned to open more than 2,000 cafes around the world that would serve dishes such as baked goods, cookies inspired by its chocolates, and the signature Croiffle, which is a buttery croissant pressed in a hot waffle iron.
The stores will remain open through Valentine's Day but are anticipated to close in March.