It was sweet while it lasted.
Belgian chocolatier Godiva will sell or close all 128 of its North American shops within the next few months, the company said this week.
Godiva said it saw a drop in demand for in-person shopping at its brick-and-mortar stores, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the company said it has seen growth in online sales and sales through grocery, club and other retail partners.
CEO Nurtac Afridi, who was appointed to the role last month by Govida’s Turkish parent company Yildiz Holding, said in a written statement that the company has "always been focused on what our consumers need and how they want to experience our brand, which is why we have made this decision."
Local reports indicated that many of the Godiva stores will remain open through Valentine’s Day, a major sales period for the chocolatier. The Indianapolis Business Journal reported that an Indianapolis Godiva shop would close on Feb. 15, while The Dallas Morning News reported that seven Texas locations would shutter by the end of March.
Godiva didn’t immediately say how many employees would be affected.
"Of course, this decision was difficult because of the care we have for our dedicated and hard-working chocolatiers who will be impacted," Afridi said. "We are grateful for all they have done to make wonderful moments for our consumers and spread happiness through incredible customer service."
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The move comes less than two years after Godiva announced a push to open 2,000 cafes around the world over six years. The cafes offer a menu expanded beyond chocolate, including baked goods, sandwiches and coffee.
At the time, Godiva has planned to open about a third of those cafes in the U.S.
Godiva’s retail stores in Europe, the Middle East and greater China will continue operating.