Months after selling to Shutterfly, Lifetouch National School Studios will shut its Bloomington facility by June and eliminate 154 mostly seasonal positions.
The company notified the state that, besides the layoffs, another 145 full-time Lifetouch employees will be offered a transfer to Shutterfly's production facility in Shakopee.
The company's general counsel, Rex Buxton, sent a notice of the studio closure to the state Department of Employment and Economic Development under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, act.
The decision to shut the facility was made after Shutterfly bought Eden Prairie-based Lifetouch Inc. in April.
Lifetouch, previously an employee-owned company that specializes in school photography, said the first layoffs will begin Jan. 11. Other rounds will occur between Feb. 4 and June 30. The Bloomington facility will be completely closed by June 30.
According to the state, workers affected by the Lifetouch closure include administrative and production assistants, electricians, technicians and human-resources personnel.
State officials said they will deploy a team of employment counselors to assist affected workers, led by Mee Yang, a rapid-response senior specialist.
In March, Lifetouch workers sued the company's CEO and board of directors in federal court, claiming the executives breached their fiduciary duty by enriching themselves while causing the employee stock ownership plan to lose more than $840 million since June 2015.
Lifetouch Inc. was the market leader in school photos and yearbooks and church directories. It also operated portrait studios in retailers such as J.C. Penney and Target. However, it struggled with the transition as photography has gone mostly digital. Last year Lifetouch closed the remaining 136 photo studios it leased inside Target stores. Nearly two years ago, Lifetouch disbanded its Glossy Finish by Lifetouch sports-photography business.
Before its acquisition by Shutterfly, the closely held company had an estimated annual revenue of $1.5 billion.