Target Closes Several In-Store Portrait Studios

Image courtesy of Mike Mozart

Years ago, when you wanted to have a family portrait taken you’d hop in the car with the family and head to your local department store — Sears, JCPenney, and others. While some of these studios have closed their doors over the years, Target stepped in to fill the void. Until now: the big box retailer announced this week that it would close a handful of its in-store portrait studios in favor of other initiatives. 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the retailer will close seven of its 145 Target Portrait Studios, leased and operated by Lifetouch, across the country.

A spokesperson for Target says the decisions to close the studios came after an evaluation of the best and most profitable use of the “valuable real estate” at the front of stores.

The newly freed-up space will be used for a variety of services. One recently closed studio will be transformed into a new guest service counter to hold online orders, while another will be used to house a new Starbucks. Other uses, the spokesperson says, could be for liquor and optical stores.

Target first opened portrait studios in 1996 as another way to attract customers and provide needed services that were no longer available at some department stores.

Still, the Star Tribune reports that the studios have been struggling in recent years as customers have changed their preferences in photos, relying on digital cameras and phones. In fact, Lifetouch closed 35 of its Target Portrait Studios in 2012 as a result of lower sales.

Target closes several portrait studios around the U.S. [Minneapolis Star Tribune]