According to a report from 680 News, Telus is planning to shut down all 59 Blacks locations across Canada on August 8th. The photography chain’s 485 staff will apparently be offered positions at various Telus retail locations.
The telecommunications company acquired the retail chain in 2009 for $28-million. At the time of the acquisition, Joe Natale, then the company’s president of consumer solutions, said, “The future of wireless begins today with the launch of the largest and fastest network in Canada. Our customer’s needs are evolving. More and more wireless devices come complete with high quality photo and video capabilities, and through our distribution at Black’s, TELUS customers who are passionate about photography will be able to easily select the device that best suits their needs.”
In some way, this is a long time coming for Blacks. When Telus initially purchased the chain, it had 113 retail locations across Canada. At the time, however, all three major carries were racing to acquire new distribution channels. Bell acquired the Source, Rogers rolled out additional kiosks, namely through its Chatr Wireless band and then new entrants like Wind Mobile and Mobilicity struck deals with BlockBuster Video and The Brick.
Update: Here is the official statement from TELUS regarding the store closures:
“Technological innovations have changed the way Canadians take and share photographs, with fewer of us using retail photo outlets. Despite the positive momentum and financial improvements our BLACKS team has delivered over the last year, we have been unable to realize profitable growth and it would take considerable investment to adapt BLACKS to ongoing change. After careful consideration, we have made the decision the best approach is to turndown down (sic) the BLACKS business by August 8, 2015. In total we are closing 59 BLACKS stores, almost all in Ontario.
As we move forward through this transition, our number one priority is to support our team and our customers. We’re offering our team new roles which will best fit their skill set at a TELUS or Koodo head office, retail outlets, call centres, or accepting a transition package. Approximately 485 BLACKS team members are affected by these closures.”