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USA TODAY

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Jan 22, 2021
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Godiva is closing all of its U.S. locations as in-store visits for its luxury chocolate dip during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company plans to shutter its 128 locations in North America, which includes 11 in Canada, by the end of March. But Godiva chocolates aren't disappearing completely. You can still get them online as well as at grocery and other stores.

The company, founded in Belgium, said in a statement that demand for in-person shopping "waned as a result of the pandemic and its acceleration of changes in consumers’ shopping behavior."

Many of the Godiva boutiques are located in shopping malls, which have been hit hard in the pandemic with many malls temporarily closed for several weeks starting in mid-March.

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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, which beats past store closings records.

Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond and J.C. Penney have announced 2021 store closings. Apparel retailer Christopher & Banks announced it would close all of its stores after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

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“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," Godiva CEO Nurtac Afridi said in a statement.

The store closings come less than two years after Godiva announced a large expansion plan in April 2019 to open 2,000 cafes around the world in six years. There are currently seven U.S. cafes listed on its website.

Godiva will still "maintain retail operations across Europe, Middle East and Greater China in formats that reflect the unique cultural preferences of those markets."

Godiva said it was not disclosing the number of employees affected by the closures.

Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
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