Target no longer will be a place for people to go for their family or children's portraits.
That era will end Jan. 28 when Eden Prairie-based Lifetouch closes its 136 remaining Target photo studios.
Kristy Welker, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis-based Target Corp., said Lifetouch, which leases and operates the in-store spaces, made the decision to shutter them.
"As part of Target's 2017 store remodel plans, we're evaluating how these spaces will be allocated moving forward," she said in a statement. "We thank the Lifetouch team for their partnership in offering their Portrait Studio services to our guests."
Last year, Target closed a handful of Lifetouch's portrait studios to make room for remodeled Starbucks, liquor stores and new guest service counters with more space to hold online orders. In 2012, Lifetouch closed 35 underperforming Target portrait studios.
The portrait studios that are left are in fewer than 10 percent of Target's 1,800 stores.
Kelvin Miller, a spokesman for Lifetouch, said that Target told Lifetouch last year that it probably would close another few dozen of its studios this year as it remodels stores.
"When you take that amount away from the aggregate, it becomes an unprofitable brand for us to support," he said. "Faced with that reality, it was simply an economic decision."
Lifetouch, which still operates nearly 500 portrait studios inside of J.C. Penney, is the nation's largest producer of school photos and IDs. But the rise of digital photography, including the popularity of higher-resolution cameras on smartphones, as well as the improving quality of off-the-shelf printers and easy-to-use editing software have challenged its business in recent years.
As the industry has shifted, the $1.5 billion company has begun making bigger moves into digital sharing and shortage. Last year, for example, Lifetouch acquired an Arizona company called iMemories, which has kiosks at many Walgreens stores. The company digitizes old photos, slides and home movies and stores them on the cloud.
Lifetouch first opened the portrait studios at Target in 1996 when many big-box retailers were renting out similar small spaces to help drive more traffic to their stores. But the numbers have begun to dwindle in recent years.
In 2013, St. Louis-based CPI Corp., which operated portrait studios inside of Wal-Mart and Sears, abruptly closed all of its locations and filed for bankruptcy.
The studios in Target stores in Eden Prairie, Lino Lakes, Savage and Apple Valley are among the 136 that are slated to be shuttered later this month. The portrait studios at Targets in Edina and Roseville were among those that closed last year.