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Godiva closing all US stores after drop in visits due to COVID-19

Godiva is closing all of its stores in the U.S. after a decline in visits due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The chocolatier is closing all 128 brick-and-mortar locations in North America by the end of the first quarter of this year, the company said in a statement shared with The Hill.

Godiva said that online sales and product purchasing through grocery, club and retail partners are increasing, but the demand for in-person shopping through its dedicated locations has waned during the pandemic.

"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," she added.

The company does not plan to disclose additional details on the decision, including how many employees would be affected.

Godiva will maintain its retail operations in Europe, the Middle East and China.

Godiva opened its first cafe in 2019 and originally intended to open more than 400 across the U.S., CNN Business reportsHowever, it relied heavily on mall traffic, which has decreased during the pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many businesses to rethink operations, including multiple closures. Retail establishments, restaurants and malls have all been impacted.