(KGTV) -- Chocolatier Godiva announced it will be closing or selling its stores in North America by the end of March.
The company known for its premium chocolates cited the coronavirus pandemic as a reason for its decision to sell or shut down its 128 North American brick-and-mortar locations.
In a statement, the company said: “At the same time, in this market, demand for the in-person shopping experience offered through GODIVA’s brick & mortar locations has waned as a result of the pandemic and its acceleration of changes in consumers’ shopping behavior. In response to these market dynamics, GODIVA will exit its 128 brick & mortar locations in North America, partially through sales and partially through closures, by the end of the first quarter in 2021. GODIVA will maintain retail operations across Europe, Middle East and Greater China in formats that reflect the unique cultural preferences of those markets.”
The company did not disclose any other details, including how many of its employees would be affected.
Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi said, “We are making it even easier for our consumers to enjoy GODIVA, whether that’s by treating themselves or gifting, so that everyone can have access to our premium chocolate. GODIVA is already available in many retailers in North America and we will continue to increase our presence there while always upholding the premium quality, taste, and innovation that we have been renowned for since we were founded in Brussels in 1926.
Afridi added, “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. 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.”
“Of course, this decision was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hard-working chocolatiers who will be impacted. 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 & Behaviors,” Afridi said.
There are 20 Godiva stores in California, including three locations in San Diego:
- Fashion Valley Mall
- Westfield UTC
- Las Americas Premium Outlets in San Ysidro
Godiva says it chocolates can still be purchased online, through global travel retail, from grocery and drug stores, in Godiva cafes, and in other countries.