In another life, I’d own a luxury chocolate shop called Candy Thang. It’s been my secret dream for a decade, and I have the chocolate molds and rough business plan to prove it. In the meantime, I get my kicks at fancy candy retailers big and small. But Godiva just announced that it’s closing all of its North America locations, and I’m finding it hard to temper my sadness. My god, I’ve resorted to chocolate puns.
Business Insider reports that Godiva is closing all 128 of its North America locations (including 11 in Canada) as in-store sales have plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic. The company plans to shutter all locations by the end of March, although customers will still be able to get Godiva chocolates online and at the grocery store.
The closings come barely two years after Godiva announced a large expansion plan to open 2,000 cafes around the world. According to a statement, Godiva will still “maintain retail operations across Europe, Middle East and Greater China in formats that reflect the unique cultural preferences of those markets.” So, what went wrong with the North American Godiva locations? For starters, there’s the fact that a lot of Godiva boutiques are located in shopping malls—destinations that have been absolutely walloped by the pandemic. According to a recent CoStar report, more than 60 major retailers declared bankruptcy and more than 12,200 stores were announced for closure in 2020. And with countless Americans still struggling to pay their bills mid-pandemic, luxury chocolate probably isn’t high on anyone’s shopping list.
For whatever reason, losing Godiva feels like another blow to the shopping and dining landscape we used to know. It splits the pandemic timeline into two parts: before we lost Godiva, and after. Hopefully the company has a few Twix up its sleeve. Damn, another chocolate pun.