Premier Belgian chocolatier Godiva will close or sell all of its 128 physical stores in North America because of declines in the number of shoppers due to COVID-19, but it plans to maintain its retail operations across Europe, the Middle East and Greater China, the company said in a statement.
The chocolatier plans to close its shops by end of March but has not revealed any details about the number of employees who will be affected by the North American closure.
Godiva’s chocolates will be available to purchase online and inside partnering retail and grocery stores across the US, the company said.
“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,” CEO Nurtac Afridi said in a statement.
Quoting Marshal Cohen, Chief Retail Analyst at NPD Group, a market research company, NBC News reported that half of Godiva’s sales were to tourists, another 25 percent was for special occasions, and impulse buying accounted for the remaining 25 percent. “Where’s the business coming from? Everything moved to online with great ease,” Cohen said.
(Reporting by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz)
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