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Godiva Chocolatier

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Godiva Chocolatier
Company typePrivate[1]
IndustryConfectionery production
FounderJoseph Draps
333 West 34th Street, New York City
Area served
Key people
Salman Amin, CEO
ProductsFood and Beverage (Chocolate and Coffee)
ParentYıldız Holding

Godiva Chocolatier (/ɡəˈdvə/; French pronunciation: [gɔdiva]) is a Belgian-based international chocolate maker[2][3][4] which is owned by Turkish conglomerate Yıldız Holding.[5]

Founded in 1926, it was purchased by Yıldız in November 2007. In 2019, South Korean private equity firm MBK Partners purchased Tokyo-based Godiva Japan, operations in South Korea and Oceania as well as a production facility in Belgium for a deal valued at over US$1 billion.[6][7][8][9][10] Godiva owns and operates more than 600 shops in Europe and Asia and is available via over 10,000 speciality retailers.[11]

In 2019, Godiva had planned to open 2,000 Cafés worldwide over the next 6 years, a concept that would introduce more coffee chain-type products including espresso drinks and croissant sandwiches. However, in January, 2021, Godiva announced it would close all its 128 brick-and-mortar locations across North America by the end of March 2021, due to the lockdowns and restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic drastically reducing in-person shopping, but would maintain wholesale operations.[12]



Godiva was founded in 1926 in Brussels, Belgium, by the Draps family, who opened their first shop in the Grand-Place under its present name in honour of the legend of Lady Godiva.[13][14] The first shop outside Belgium was opened in Paris on the Rue Saint Honoré in 1958. In 1966, the company's products reached the United States, where they were sold at shopping centres. The following year, Godiva was sold by the Draps Family to the Campbell Soup Company. In 1972, the first Godiva shop in North America was opened on New York City's Fifth Avenue.[15]

Lady Godiva, 1898 painting by John Collier

By 2007, Godiva had annual sales of approximately $500 million. In August of that year, the Campbell Soup Company announced it was exploring strategic alternatives, including possible divestiture, for its Godiva Chocolatier business; the company said the "premium chocolate business does not fit with Campbell's strategic focus on simple meals".[16] In December 2007, Campbell announced that it entered into an agreement to sell Godiva to Yıldız Holding, which is based in Istanbul, Turkey, which is the owner of Ülker group and the largest consumer goods manufacturer in Turkey.[6][17] The acquisition was completed in March 2008 for $850 million.[18]

Godiva continues to own and operate more than 450 shops worldwide.[19][when?]

In May 2012, Godiva opened Café Godiva[20] in London's Harrods department store, which offers Godiva's chocolate beverages, pastries and chocolates. The company also has a store in the Harrods Food Hall.

In 2016, Godiva celebrated its 90th anniversary and opened its 100th store in China.[21] In 2017, the business opened its first store in Australia, inaugurated its Pierre Draps Chocolate Research & Development Centre in Brussels and opened its North America flagship store at Rockefeller Center in Midtown Manhattan.[22][23] In 2018, Godiva opened its first café in Brussels, the birthplace of the brand.[24]

In Japan in February 2018, Godiva took out a full-page ad in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun financial newspaper, suggesting the retirement of the giri choco practice.[25] As part of this practice, women are expected to buy chocolate for their colleagues, friends, bosses and sometimes family members on Valentine's Day. The public's reaction to the ad was generally seen as favorable.[26]

In 2019, a Korean private equity firm, MBK Partners agreed to purchase Godiva’s operations in Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand as well as its production facility in Belgium.[27] The transaction details were not disclosed, but estimated 1 to 1.5 billion USD.[28]

As of October 2020, the CEO of Godiva is Nurtaç Ziyal Afridi.[29]

Civic engagement


The company is a participating member of the World Cocoa Foundation and Cocoa Horizons Foundation and a partner of Save the Children. Godiva began The Lady Godiva Program, which partnered with FEED Projects in its first year.[30] Godiva also partners with the Earthworm Foundation to continue their commitment to ensuring the sustainability of the cocoa industry and is in agreement with the Cocoa & Forests Initiative to stop deforestation and forest degradation concerning the production of cocoa.[31]

With its Seeds for Progress Foundation, Godiva facilitates access to education for children living in coffee-growing communities. The Lady Godiva Initiative is Godiva's pledge to annually honour and award $25,000 grants to five non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the United States, Canada, Belgium, England and China that are doing the work of empowering women.[31][32]



In 2016, Godiva had approximately 650 retail stores throughout the world.[33] Godiva's global presence increased rapidly, especially in such non-Western countries as China and Japan. In 2021, Godiva announced that it would close its 128 stores in North America because of decreased mall traffic sales; customers could instead purchase products through Godiva's online marketplace and through grocery, club, and retail partners.[34][35]

Godiva has factories in Brussels, in Reading, Pennsylvania, and in Turkey.[36] Most of the chocolate sold in the USA is made in Turkey.[citation needed]


Lawyers of the company have sent a series of letters warning the Lady Godiva public house in Geneva, Switzerland, that they are infringing upon their intellectual property, with the latest asking them to cease and desist from using the name. Pru Porretta, who was behind the revival of Dame Goodyver's Daye in Coventry, England, where a procession through the city's streets includes her representing Lady Godiva riding a horse commented "I think it's very sad. Godiva was a great woman who challenged her husband to stop the terrible things that were happening to the people. I'm sure Lady Godiva wouldn't care for a company which seems to be taking something that wasn't theirs originally and wants to use it for themselves and nobody else. It's about our rich heritage. I would say it's morally wrong".[37]



Godiva has been involved in a controversy over chocolate manufacturers' use of child labor in the production of cocoa.[38]

Godiva's milk chocolate was found to be heavily contaminated with nickel in a laboratory test done by the German consumer institute Stiftung Warentest in 2018.[39]

See also



  1. ^ "Chocolatier Godiva to sell Asian-Pacific operations to MBK Partners". CNBC. February 20, 2019.
  2. ^ "Godiva to close all 128 chocolate stores in North America, citing decline in shoppers due to pandemic". NBC News. 25 January 2021.
  3. ^ "South Korea's MBK strikes $1bn Godiva chocolate deal". Financial Times. 20 February 2019.
  4. ^ "GODIVA Thailand Official Website - World Famous Handmade Chocolates". www.godiva.co.th.
  5. ^ "Godiva sells Asia business to South Korea's MBK for $1bn". Nikkei Asia. February 21, 2019.
  6. ^ a b "Global Food Industry News | Market Research and Reports - just-food". www.just-food.com.
  7. ^ "Lady Godiva becomes Bride of Istanbul". Archived from the original on November 17, 2015.
  8. ^ "A Giant Step by Ülker: World's Number One Premium Chocolate Brand is Now Ülker's". Archived from the original on June 16, 2008.
  9. ^ "Yildiz buys Godiva for $850m". Trend-news.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-03. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  10. ^ "South Korea's MBK strikes $1bn Godiva chocolate deal". Financial Times. 2019-02-20. Retrieved 2022-10-24.
  11. ^ History of Godiva Archived 2007-09-18 at the Wayback Machine from the company's "Careers" website
  12. ^ "Luxury chocolate brand Godiva is closing all of its stores in Canada". www.blogto.com. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  13. ^ "Our Story" at the Official Godiva Europe Online Shop. Retrieved 30 December 2022.
  14. ^ The History of Godiva Chocolatier Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, from the company's website
  15. ^ Grant, Tina, ed. (2004). "Godiva Chocolatier, Inc". International Directory of Company Histories. St. James Press. pp. 154–157. ISBN 978-1-55862-509-9.
  16. ^ Campbell To Explore Strategic Alternatives For Godiva Business Archived 2007-08-19 at the Wayback Machine, a Campbell's press release via shareholder.com
  17. ^ Geoff Mulvihill. "Turkish company buys Godiva". Archived from the original on 2012-11-03. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
  18. ^ "Yahoo Finance - Stock Market Live, Quotes, Business & Finance News". finance.yahoo.com.
  19. ^ "Godiva, Everywhere". Godiva. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Godiva Chocolate Cafe". Godiva UK. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  21. ^ "At 90, Godiva Proudly Looks Back as It Charts a Path Forward". Retrieved 2018-05-24.
  22. ^ "Godiva Belgium chocolate opens first Australian store | Australian Food News". www.ausfoodnews.com.au. 24 January 2018. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  23. ^ "Godiva Chocolatier". Rockefeller Center. Archived from the original on 2018-07-08. Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  24. ^ "Godiva's Latest Box of Chocolates Is a World Tour of Flavors". Food & Wine. Retrieved 2018-05-27.
  25. ^ "Godiva Causes a Stir in Japan by Urging Women to Stop Buying Chocolates for Male Coworkers". www.adweek.com.
  26. ^ Adelstein, Jake. "Why Godiva Japan Took Out A Full Page Ad Asking People Not To Buy Valentine's Day Chocolate". Forbes.
  27. ^ "GODIVA Chocolatier, owned by Yildiz Holding, Enters into an Agreement to Sell Select Assets to MBK Partners to Fuel Future Business Growth Fivefold". www.prnewswire.com (Press release).
  28. ^ "Chocolatier Godiva to sell Asian-Pacific operations to MBK Partners". www.cnbc.com. 20 February 2019.
  29. ^ Chocolatier, GODIVA. "GODIVA Announces Upcoming Departure of CEO and New Interim CEO". www.prnewswire.com (Press release). Retrieved 2020-11-06.
  30. ^ "Sustainable Practices". www.godiva.com. Retrieved 2018-01-08.
  31. ^ a b "GODIVA Cares". GODIVA. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  32. ^ "AVA is Awarded the Lady GODIVA Initiative Grant". 22 November 2021.
  33. ^ "Godiva: number of retail boutiques worldwide 2008-2016 | Statistic". Statista. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  34. ^ Tyko, Kelly. "Store closings 2021: Godiva to close its boutiques by end of March but chocolate will be sold online, other stores". USA Today. Retrieved 2021-01-23.
  35. ^ Benveniste, Alexis (2021-01-25). "Godiva is closing or selling all of its stores in the United States". CNN Business. Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  36. ^ "Inside The Scrumdiddlyumptious World Of Godiva". Delish. 2016-04-04. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  37. ^ "Lady Godiva angry at chocolate claim". BBC News. 13 October 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  38. ^ "Fair Trade Chocolate: How Sweet are Your Sweets for Valentine's Day?". 2 February 2018. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  39. ^ "Stiftung Warentest: Diese Schokolade schneidet am besten ab". Göttinger Tageblatt (in German). 2018-11-21. Archived from the original on 2021-02-03. Retrieved 2020-10-12.