Archie Van Beuren, President of Godiva

This is a partial transcript from Your World with Neil Cavuto, May 9, 2002, that was edited for clarity. Click here for complete access to all of Neil Cavuto's CEO interviews.

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NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: As you know, this Sunday is Mother's Day, when we honor some very special women in our lives. Now, according to a recent retail survey, consumers are estimated to spend an average of $90 on dear old Mom. That's got to make my next guest very happy because he's hoping some of that dough makes its way to one of his shiny gold boxes.

Here with me now is Archie Van Beuren. Archie, of course, the president of luxury chocolatier Godiva, as I always mention when he's here. I don't know if he is eating his product because he is thin and athletic, good shape and all that. You can't be eating your product.

ARCHIE VAN BEUREN, PRESIDENT, GODIVA: Neil, it's great to see you. And, absolutely, I eat my product. With great chocolate, a little can go plenty a ways. You don't have to eat too much.

CAVUTO: You run fast.

VAN BEUREN: I run fast.

CAVUTO: Now, $90 is the average most people spends on their mothers.


CAVUTO: How much of that is making its way to chocolate?

VAN BEUREN: Well, I mean, a good percentage. If you look at the different categories that do very well at Mother's Day, you have got flowers, you've got fragrance. Chocolate, obviously, is one of the core items there. Then you have got things like the brunch, you know, the Mother's Day brunch, taking Mom out for a meal. And it is really all about celebrations and saying thank you to Mom. And so, chocolate is one of the main players in that.

CAVUTO: Well, you are a main player in this industry, but you're not cheap. I mean, you know, to buy your stuff puts you back a few rubels.

VAN BEUREN: Well, first of all, your wife, mother, is absolutely worth it. But what we really think about is what are you actually buying. And you are buying the finest ingredients. You're buying beautiful packaging, and really a brand that says so much about how you feel about someone.

CAVUTO: I don't mind paying more for the packaging, which is terrific, or the chocolate, which is also terrific.

VAN BEUREN: You know what? You pay more for everything, frankly, because it is the whole package together that really makes it work. And we really do seek out the finest ingredients and you've got these really wonderful chocolate creations that we change every year.

CAVUTO: So this is, for you, I was surprised to read, that this Mother's Day is third only to what, Valentine's Day and Christmas, right?

VAN BEUREN: Yes. I mean, the biggest single day is really before Valentine's Day, and that's because you and I, the guys tend to delay that purchase until the last moment.

CAVUTO: Actually, I do it that day, right that day.

VAN BEUREN: You should see, unfortunately, the lines that form. You know, go a day or two early and you don't have to wait as long. But Christmas is the other real big one for us. But Mother's Day is significant. And if you go to our shops now, you see the wonderful sheer luxury collection. And really from basically $12 to $50, there are wonderful things that you can get.

CAVUTO: We were saying, in your case, the parent company, Campbell, in a way, the post-September 11 environment, people are depressed or bummed out or nervous, they still eat, right?

VAN BEUREN: Absolutely. They eat and they are looking for things that will make them feel better. You know, it would not be truthful to say that, gee, September 11 did not have any impact. We are a luxury brand. There's no doubt about it. And so we felt that we had events happen that, you know, obviously when the Towers fell, we had two stores right in that vicinity. Thank God nobody was hurt, but nevertheless, it's impacted our sales.

CAVUTO: But you see things picking up now?

VAN BEUREN: We do see things picking up for us. It was a bit soft through Christmas, but as we got into Valentine's Day and we're seeing momentum regaining now. And we've seen strength in Asia still. That never really faltered through the whole thing. So, been very strong.

CAVUTO: Archie, thank you very much. Best of luck this holiday season for your family and everyone else.

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