Target Corp. is closing a handful of portrait studios to make room for other initiatives.
The Minneapolis-based retailer is shuttering seven of the 145 Target Portrait Studios nationwide. The portrait studios, which are leased and operated by Eden Prairie-based Lifetouch, are in less than 10 percent of Target’s 1,800 big-box stores.
“That front of store space is valuable real estate in our stores,” said Kristy Welker, a Target spokeswoman, adding that the company has been evaluating the best and most profitable use of that space as it remodels some stores.
The Target Portrait Studio at the Target in Edina has already closed. That space will be incorporated into a new guest service counter with additional space to hold online orders waiting to be picked up.
A portrait studio at the store in Roseville will close later this week to give the Starbucks more room. Other possible reasons for closing the studios include Target putting a liquor or optical store into that space, Welker said.
The reshuffling comes as Target executives have become increasingly focused on getting the most bang from the space in stores. It has sold its pharmacies to CVS and is experimenting with some alternatives to its Target cafes with other concepts such as Freshii and D’Amico & Sons.
It first opened the portrait studios in 1996 as another way to help drive traffic to the store and to make it more of a one-stop shopping destination.
But portrait studios have been struggling in recent years amid the rise of digital photography and the selfie culture. In 2012, Lifetouch closed 35 underperforming Target Portrait Studios.
Lifetouch also runs portrait studios inside of J.C. Penney and has a big business in yearbooks and school pictures. It recently acquired a business that digitizes physical photos and other forms of media.
At the same time, some of its competitors have fallen to the wayside. In 2013, CPI Corp., which operated portrait studios inside of Wal-Mart and Sears, abruptly closed all of its locations and filed for bankruptcy.