Say it isn't so: Not Godiva too. Unfortunately, it's true. Godiva Chocolatier stores are yet another COVID casualty. But it's not all bad news for chocolate lovers and investors/landlords because a new tenant, Laderach, will assume Godiva leases.
Godiva is out
Godiva will soon close all its stores in both the United States and Canada. The closure could be largely due to the pandemic since the decline in in-person shopping did the company in. Hindsight is 20/20, so they say, and in a "shoulda-woulda-coulda" sentiment, Godiva management may have missed an opportunity by not adding a delivery service when foot traffic declined.
Godiva will remain open in Europe, the Middle East, and China, however, and the candy shop will continue to partner with drug and grocery stores in North America and conduct online sales.
A big mistake
If Godiva had changed its business model, its stores may have survived in the United States. People want comfort foods during bad times like pandemics. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, people went to the movies to feel good. Since that's out, people are turning to eating candy. Premium chocolate sales were up 21.4% during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the National Confectioners Association. So if Godiva didn't make it here in the U.S., it's no surprise that another premium candy maker was ready to take the spot.
Laderach is in
Laderach, a family-owned Swiss company, will take over 34 of Godiva's 128 stores. Laderach produces its own chocolate mass, meaning the company can guarantee the product's quality "from the cocoa bean to the end product."
The deal signing happened on the most appropriate day of the year for a chocolate maker: February 14, Valentine's Day. Expect to see this chocolatier open and ready for business in 34 old Godiva locations. Laderach is keeping quiet for now about which locations it will occupy, but we should know by the end of summer this year.
Laderach is not exactly a newbie
Although many Americans might not have heard of or tried Laderach's candies, this chocolate artisan has been around since 1962, founded in a small village in Switzerland, and it means business.
It now operates more than 100 locations nationwide and has four stores in the United States. The flagship U.S. store sits on 2,500 square feet of space on primo property: Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, complete with a rotating cocoa bean and chocolate structure. Its other U.S. locations are in the American Dream Mall in New Jersey, on Lexington Avenue in New York, and in Union Station in D.C.
The Millionacres bottom line
Godiva provides a premium product, but that alone wasn't enough for this company to stay in business in the United States during COVID-19. Godiva relied heavily on its presence in malls, which have seen significant decreases in foot traffic due to the pandemic. So, it's not a big surprise Godiva struggled to survive a pandemic, at least here in the U.S. Laderach, however, is confident it will grow here.