OTTAWA–Canada’s Black’s Photography in August will close its remaining 59 retail stores, the company said Tuesday, the latest victim of digital photography and plummeting consumer demand for camera film and printed pictures. The chain, founded in 1930, became Canada’s top photography retailer. Over the years it bought up several competitors, including the coincidentally named Brown’s Photo chain in the United States, which it later sold off. In recent decades, it was itself acquired and flipped several times until 2009, when telecommunications giant Telus purchased the chain, closed half of its outlets and reorganized the rest to try to better serve new digital users. Eight stores were remodeled to look like art galleries, offering framing, cloud storage and a smartphone app to edit and produce prints. ��We’re unable to sustain growth without a massive investment to (further) adapt to how Canadians now take and share photos,�� Telus spokeswoman Luiza Staniec told AFP. With better and better cameras built into most smartphones, sales of stand-alone cameras have nosedived over the past decade.
Meanwhile, a majority of Canadians now share photos by email or text, or through online social media or photo sharing sites such as Instagram. Blacks’s 59 stores, mostly in Ontario province, will close on August 8, affecting 485 employees.
Staniec said they would be offered transfers to Telus retail outlets, call centers or offices.