TOWSON, Md. (CNN/WJZ) — Luxury chocolatier Godiva is getting out of the brick and mortar business.
The company is closing or selling all 128 of its brick-and-mortar stores in North America, it announced in a statement. It plans to complete the closures and sales by the end of March.READ MORE: 'This Is Everyone's History' | StoryCorps Recording Two Rounds Of Interviews With Marylanders
That would include four stores here in Maryland at the Towson Town Center, The Mall of Columbia, in Bethesda and a Godiva café in the Westfield Annapolis mall.
Godiva will keep its stores open across Europe, Middle East and Greater China. The company did not disclose information on how many employees would be let go because of the closures.READ MORE: Homicide Investigation Underway After Partial Human Remains Found In Dundalk
Less than two years ago, Godiva was planning a massive expansion by getting into the cafe business. The chocolatier opened its first cafe in the United States in New York City in April 2019 and announced that it planned on opening 10 more cafes in New York and more than 400 across the United States. It was part of a plan to open 2,000 new cafes around the world.
But that plan never came to fruition. Godiva relied heavily on mall traffic, which has been plummeting even before the pandemic. The chocolatier’s sales are largely driven by online purchases and purchases through Godiva’s grocery, club and retail partners.
This change comes during a time when Covid has hit dozens of underperforming businesses. The retail apocalypse in particular has come for restaurants, mall stores, businesses that rely on impulse shopping and luxury retailers.MORE NEWS: Community Devastated After Efraim Gordon Murdered While Visiting Baltimore, Volunteers Hand Out Flyers
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