The economic disaster brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic has claimed another victim – Belgian chocolate maker Godiva.
The Turkish-owned Chocolatier has announced that it will close all 128 of its brick-and-mortar locations, including cafes and retail boutiques in North America during the spring.
Two years ago, the company had ambitious plans to open some 2,000 cafes worldwide by 2025.
But on Wednesday, it was announced that the company would like to sell its locations or close them.
In April 2019, Godiva opened its first Cafe Concept in New York City. In the 12 months that followed, the company opened dozens of other locations.
According to Food Business News, Godiva Café offers a range of baked goods, including Belgian veggles and chocolate-inspired cookies.
The company said the coronavirus epidemic kept people away from shopping at their locations.
Godiva, a Belgian chocolate-making Turkish company, will close all its brick-and-mortar retail stores in North America. A Godiva store is seen above on Seventh Avenue in New York City
“Our brick-and-mortar locations in North America have a clear objective that we first open our doors to this market to give consumers an in-person experience,” said Godiva Chocletti CEO Kurtak Afridi. .
‘We have always been focused on what our consumers want and how they want to experience our brand, which is why we have taken this decision.
‘Of course, this decision was difficult because we have our dedicated and hardworking chocolatiers to care for who will be impressed.
‘We are grateful to all that they have done to create amazing moments for our consumers and spread happiness through incredible customer service and live up to our values and behaviors.’
While Godiva is closing its stores, it will still maintain a presence in North America.
Afridi said the company would offer its products for sale through food, drug and mass retail outlets as well as online shops.
“We are making it easier for our consumers to enjoy Godiva, whether it’s a treat on their own or as a gift, so that everyone can have access to our premium chocolate,” Afridi said.
‘Godiva is already available at many retailers in North America, and we will always continue to grow our presence, always maintaining the premium quality, taste and innovation that we have been famous for since our establishment in 1926 in Brussels. ‘
This undated file photo shows Godiva Chocolate at a boutique location in Los Angeles above
Godiva owns and operates over 600 stores in the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia.
The company plans to maintain locations outside North America.
Last week, the government said Americans cut spending for the third-straight month in December as an increase in virus cases kept people away from stores during the critical holiday shopping season.
The Commerce Department said last Friday that retail sales were adjusted seasonally by 0.7 percent in the month of December, before Wall Street analysts expected little.
Sales declined in October and November, with retailers even trying to get people to shop for Christmas gifts by offering deals before Halloween.
Friday’s report covers only about a third of total consumer spending.
Haircuts and hotel accommodation services, which are badly hurt by the epidemic, are not included.
The unexpected decline mitigates the troubles of the economy as the epidemic worsens this winter.
For the first time since April, employers took the job last month.
And layoffs continue, as the number of people receiving unemployed benefits reached the highest level since August last week.
This left many Americans with little expense.
But the recent $ 600 incentive check sent to most Americans is expected to boost the economy in the coming months.
And as vaccines are more widely distributed, economists expect the economy to rebound at a healthy pace in the second half of this year.
While Godiva is closing its stores, it will still maintain a presence in North America by offering its products for sale through food, drug and mass retail outlets as well as online shops.
So far, retailers have reported mixed results for the holiday season.
Big box retailer Target, which sells groceries, fashion and cleaning supplies under one roof, said sales soared during the holidays as virus-wary people seek one-stop shopping.
Meanwhile, malls such as Nordstrom, Victoria’s Secret and Urban Outfitters generally reported declining chain sales.
The Commerce Department said sales also fell online, down about 6 percent after a 19 percent increase for the year.
This may be due to Amazon, which held its annual Prime Day sales for the first time in October this year, which likely prompted people to shop earlier in the season and spend less in December, analysts at Wells Fargo Securities said.
Walmart, Target and Best Buy followed in the lead by Amazon, offering competitive discounts to compete with Prime Day.
Restaurant and bar sales declined 4.5 percent in December, as in-person dining is banned in the states, down 21 percent this year.