Sweet sorrow: Godiva to close all North American locations by March

NEW YORK — Luxury chocolatier Godiva announced it will close all of its North American stores by the end of March, citing shifts in consumer habits spurred, in large part, by sustained novel coronavirus restrictions.

The company acknowledged a substantial drop in in-person shopping at its brick-and-mortar shops played into its decision to shutter 128 locations in the United States and Canada, but growth in online sales via grocery, club and other retail partners indicates business will remain robust, Fox Business reported.

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Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi said in a written statement that the company has “always been focused on what our consumers need and how they want to experience our brand, which is why we have made this decision.”

According to the Connecticut Post, Godiva’s locations across Europe, the Middle East and China will remain unaffected by the restructuring, and North American stores are expected to remain operational through at least the close of the lucrative Valentine’s Day season.

Founded in Belgium in the 1920s, Godiva was acquired by Turkish parent company Yildiz Holding in 2007 but remains headquartered in New York with two factories in Brussels and Reading, Pennsylvania, the newspaper reported.

“Of course, this decision was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hard-working chocolatiers who will be impacted,” Afridi stated, adding, “We are grateful for all they have done to make wonderful moments for our consumers and spread happiness through incredible customer service.”

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