Walmart, Sears portrait studios take $20 million loss, let employees go

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Employees working in the portrait studios at Sears and Walmart no longer have jobs.

As of this past Wednesday, CPI Corporation, which owns Portrait Me Studios in Sears and Sears Family Portrait Studios in Walmarts, closed down its operations across the United States. The company's reasoning: poor economic growth. It reported a loss of $20.2 million at the end of the third quarter last year. It cites digital photography as being a major factor for its downfall.

The closings came as a shock to employees as many weren't notified until late Wednesday night via text message or email.

Some Picture Me Portrait Studio employees at the Walmart in St. Charles, Mo., had no until they arrived at work Thursday morning and logged on to the studio computer.

CPI Corp. tells customers who have had a recent photo session to call the customer service department of their local store to retrieve their photos, but the company makes no guarantees.

CPI Corp. will continue its operations in Canada for the time being.

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