American wholesale retailer Costco informed customers in an email sent earlier today that it will be closing all remaining photo centers inside of its U.S. and Canadian warehouses by February 14, 2021.
In 2015, Costco started cutting back on its in-store photography departments when it announced it would no longer offer film development services. Then, in March 2019, Costco took it a step further and announced it would be closing a number of in-store photo departments due to insufficient demand. Costco never specified which warehouses lost its photo departments, but reports confirmed stores in at least three states — Massachusetts, Hawaii and California — had been shuttered.
In Costco’s email announcement, which went out to customers earlier today, the retailer cites the lack of demand due to smartphones and social media. The email reads, in part:
‘Since the introduction of camera phones and social media, the need for printing photos has steeply declined, even though the number of pictured taken continues to grow. After careful consideration, we have determined the continued decline of prints no longer requires on-site photo printing.’
The photo department closures will also affect the retailer’s home movie video transfer, passport photo, photo restoration and ink cartridge refill services. Costco requests any orders placed ahead of the February 14 cutoff date be picked up in-store no later than March 28, 2021.
Even though in-store photo services will no longer be around, Costco will continue to offer online photo printing services via its website, CostcoPhotoCenter.com. We have contacted Costco for comment and will update accordingly when we receive a response.