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Godiva to close, sell North American stores due to pandemic

·1-min read
Godiva plans to exit the retail business in North America due to the coronavirus pandemic

Godiva will shut or sell its North American stores due to a steep downturn in customer foot traffic from Covid-19, the chocolate company said Monday.

The merchant plans to maintain its retail operations across Europe, the Middle East and Greater China, but in North America will focus on online sales and purchases through other retailers.

The company, which owns 128 stores in North America, will exit the business "partially through sales and partially through closures" by the end of March because demand "has waned as a result of the pandemic," Godiva said in a statement.

The company did not disclose how many jobs would be affected by the move.

"Our brick and 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," said Godiva Chief Executive Nurtac Afridi.

"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."

Originally founded in a confectionary workshop in Brussels by Pierre Draps in 1926, Godiva was sold in 1967 to Campbell Soup, which built the brand internationally. Campbell sold the company to Turkish company Yildiz Holdings in 2007.

jmb/cs