Turkish-owned luxury chocolatier Godiva is planning to close down all of its 128 brick-and-mortar stores in the U.S., the company said.
Godiva, which was founded by Belgium in 1920 before it was acquired by Tukey's Yildiz Holding, plans to complete the closure of its stores by the end of March. Godiva plans to have most of the stores remain open during the lucrative Valentine's Day season.
The company said that it will be keeping all of its stores outside of North America open. Godiva currently owns and operates more than 600 brick-and-mortar shops worldwide. It also sells its products via over 10,000 specialty retailers and retail partners.
Godiva did not say how many employees it would be letting go due to the closures. The company said that while some of its stores will be shut down, others will be sold to interested investors.
The planned closures come just two years after the company said that it was embarking on a massive expansion strategy by transforming its stores into cafes.
In 2019, the company opened its first chocolatier café in New York. During that time, the company said that it plans to open 10 more cafés in New York and over 400 similar cafes across the country. The U.S. cafes were part of its plan to open 2,000 new outlets worldwide.
Unfortunately, the planned outlets relied heavily on mall traffic, which effectively became non-existent due to the coronavirus lockdowns.
Throughout the crisis, the company attempted to offset its sales by selling its product online through its own platform and through its retail partners. Given its decision to close down its U.S. stores; the strategy likely failed to offset its losses.
Godiva said in its statement that its decision to reduce its presence in the U.S. was due to a significant decline in in-person shopping because of the pandemic. It added that the situation had forced it to "accelerate" its plan to adapt to consumer's evolving shopping behavior.