Thursday, April 12, 2012

CPI Takes Another Hit, Closing 124 More Portrait Studios At Babies R Us Stores


Last month, I posted a story about CPI corporation closing hundreds of Picture Me portrait studios in Walmarts across the nation. Well, I guess those closing didn't do much to help CPI's bottom line, because now 124 of the company's Kiddie Kandids portrait studios at Babies R Us stores are also shutting down. Here is stltoday.com with the story:
St. Louis-based CPI Corp. is closing 124 underperforming Kiddie Kandids portrait studios inside Babies R Us stores in the next couple of weeks.

The closings, which were revealed in a regulatory filing Monday, follows a similar announcement last month that it would close 346 of its PictureMe portrait studios inside Walmart stores across the country.

After these closures, CPI will continue to operate 2,584 portrait studios inside of Walmart, Sears, and Babies R Us stores in the U.S., the company said.

CPI said that 102 of the Kiddie Kandid studio locations to be closed were the result of them not meeting minimum sales requirements as set out in a host agreement with Toys R Us. The others 22 locations were closing following the company's evaluation of its portfolio.

The company expects exit costs related to these closures to be about $700,000.

The portrait studio operator has suffered a number of blows in recent months following poor financial results, including the transfer of its stock from the New York Stock Exchange to the over-the-counter market.
Of course, the story didn't say what the real problem is: that CPI produces a product that is a completely unnecessary luxury and is trying to sell it to cash strapped working and middle class families. The ultimate death of this company appears to be just a matter of time.


Bonus: Photograph

13 comments:

  1. The way they treat their employees it's a wonder they are still in business. They set these high sales and constantly threaten their employees with them loosing their job. That's the way you make people want to work for you and perform well.

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    1. I agree. I was employed by cpi for 3.5 years. Leaving was the best decision i ever made

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    2. Cpi is just now closing more kiddie kandids studio. I got a nice phone call from my DM right after christmas. I hate this company so much and i am so happy to move on.

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  2. It is very poorly run. I used to work for them. I called HR several times-they NEVER called me back. We had constant high and conflicting goals. Customers were to be scheduled 15 minutes apart, and they didn't understand why families with four children couldn't get a good set of photos in the time allowed. I could go on and on. It seemed as if the best way for the company to work would be for great photos (which need a few minutes to set up) to be taken in the studio, and then let people look at and order their photos online, instead of doing a high pressure sales job of photos of rushed and panicked photos of children.

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  3. Not a bad idea. I still work there and love the photography, but it seems that my cell phone has more to offer than our portrait suite program. If they gave us more options to create products that would be a big plus. Only thing with the view-at-home option is that they would demand triple the sittings, and some days you are trolling the store for half a day just to get one sitting. I'm a photographer, not a stalker!

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  4. I,agree its not right that we have to get 3 or more sits. A day make $100 or more a day find VIP...and 20 or more leads a day...its exhausting..and a bunch of crap..I am a studio manager and its a struggle to get the people to come in . Not to mention you have a time frame of 45 day to pay off your pics...some just can't do it...its too much pressure...we are over worked and I know I'm under paid as a studio manager..I heard the co.is going bankrupt..that's what they get. We live in America free will...you can not force people to give their email...nor go into the studio and spend money..who cares if we offer them $30..$50...or $100 free. By time you take the pics..load show all the "required" catalog...the interruptions could easily be solved if 2 employees could work at the same time. As soon as you start the sale the customers walk out. Leaving me to go and start stressing all over just to meet the goals. It should not be like this. Outreach and VIP...to the people we approach we are begging for their money...lol ...soon walmart will use the space for someting else.

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  5. I used to work there and meeting the minimum sales goal is almost impossible when the company offers so many things to customers for less then they would pay me to be there! Also, find those leads and VIP's was done by offering customers free items just for coming in, its hard to make sales goal when the company says give them everything for free. There would be days where we would have 2 sits all day cause no one wanted to come in and we would get threatened with write ups because of it.

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  6. I used to work for Kiddie Kandids in Chantilly, Va and it was the worst job I ever had. Amanda who was my boss was a steel fisted tyrant fired me because I wouldn't come to work because I was moving into my new house with my wife. Im glad they shut the stores down because if its going to be run by people like her who are nothing more than hypocritical dictators, then it has no business being around in the first place.

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  7. I used to work for CPI in Seven Corner's Shopping center, located in Falls Church Va, back in the early 80's Back then they took over PhotoWorld a one hour photo finish place. Working there was pretty nice in general..I was there because I loved photography and wanted to learn more about it, they didn't pay very well but it was fun and we had a good crew. The home office and their expectations were pretty high and they had tons of coupons too..so our average day was about $ 700.00 to 900.00 not much I guess by today's economy.

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  8. I worked at Kiddie Kandids in Arizona and traveled to work at all of the studios and was payed for that travel time. My home studio was the highest performing in AZ and our manager was great. I honestly had no problems with them. It only makes sense that in a sales position you have goals to meet and are required to bring in customers through studio outreach. I never had a problem with the studio outreach and bringing in people for photos and Im not the most overly social person. Its about doing your best at your job no matter what it is and you will do well. From the sales point the 7.99 sucked for your average but if you werent trained to upsell, which I noticed almost none of the other studios employees were, then you couldnt do well. I had people walk in with the 7.99 coupon and walk out spending over $500 because working at a portrait studio isnt just about sales its also about the quality photos. Simply put, no ones going to buy a ton of photos to send to their family and hang in their house for $500 if you take crappy photos and act pissed off if they dont spend what you want. Our studio had good and bad days for sales as did I and I was NEVER threatened with termination and neither were any of my coworkers who had low sales. Poor experience with a studio has less to do with CPI than it does the managers at each studio. Our manager was awesome but I knew others that were horrible not only treating employees and customers poorly but not taking care of the studio or their duties. This company and other photo studio companies are failing for the same reason. Like someone said earlier, professional photos are a luxury in this economy and people simple cant afford it.

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  9. I don't even know where to start about my studio. 1st off I worked at the Sears store first and I kid you not, nobody comes in that store but the same people. The store couldn't even reach their quotas b/c it had the disadvantage of not being connected to a mall like the one close-by that we were always being compared to so finding VIP's for a business within a slow running business was indeed a disaster. My studio manager hired me at the beginning of the Easter Season so I had a couple weeks 2 adjust. She was a very sweet girl so when her family came for a week's visit after I'd only been there 2 weeks I sucked it up and did my best and she was by my side over the phone. When she got back, I was still learning stuff everyday and it had finally been a month & I was just beginning to get the hang of things. You can't really make much money if you don't know what you're doing and she transferred to the other studio. Then this crude, rude, guy took over my studio. He was so rude and had the most demanding demeanor I'd ever seen. I could tell by the way he talk to me, there would be some problems. I didn't even realize at the time but when I looked at my work timeline, he'd only been there 2 weeks when he started cutting my hrs down to 1 day & one day just as I finished everything I needed to do AND CLOCKED OUT, he decided he wanted to discuss changes he was going to make from what my previous manager did. Mind you I was clocked out and was walking out So I pulled out my cell phone 2 tell my boyfriend I'd be held up for a few min b/c my manager was talking to me & he snatches my phone out of my hand and says hey! Im talking 2 u. I didnt know at the time but I should've pressed assault charges, especially how I ended up leaving. He started cutting my hours 2 weeks b4 my vacation & when I got back we had a new district manager, shorter business hours, & a whole new system of ringing things up. So he was supposed 2 train me on the new stuff upon my return & he catches pneumonia. There was no way I was going to wait possibly a month for him to recover. So I'd been filling out applications b/c anytime someone cuts your hours that low, its time for another job. At the end of May I got another job and after calling several times I didnt care anymore b/c I had a new workplace. A few days after orientation at my new job a coworker asked me to work for her b/c she was sick & had been 2 work everyday. Now I'm livid b/c she had all the hours and I had none. This was the 1st time in 3 weeks I'd heard from the manager. my coworker walked me thru everything new over the phone & luckily it was a slow day so not knowing anything wasn't too bad. She finally told me he was trying to get rid of me & I told her his wish was granted b/c I had another job and was not coming back. I never put in a notice after that b/c I had my new job but I thought it would be interesting to see if and when he'd call me about my studio job and of course he didn't. I pray that studio gets closed down. With the manger that hired me there, it was ok b/c she truly is talented at what she does & her customers go to her new location just for her since its not far at all. But that studio is not doing well and with someone whom is really not good and had a such a harsh demeanor we'll see how long it lasts. I cant even say where I worked w/ out putting my old manager on the spot so I'll leave it alone but its no wonder the company is going downhill.

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  10. Ha ha ha I'm am so glad that they shut down the pic me. Location I use to manage. That's what they deserved, after the dm treated me like crap after 14 months of dedication. I told her it would not be long after I left they would shut that studio down.

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  11. I worked at the Walmart Portrait Studio for almost 12 years. I loved the job, but as soon as CPI took over around 2008-9 (I think) they sucked all of the fun out of it. I was a top performer with an unheard of sales average. (at least for them) but I only shot less than 20 customers per week in the summer. However, I brought in more money than the top producing studio in my district due to my high sales. The corporate office called me 3 times in the last 3 months of my employment to ask me what my "tricks of the trade" were to get such high sales. Even with my high sales average, my regional manager regularly threatened me with write up's for my low amount of shoots per week, even though I was bringing in as much money and sometimes more than the highest producing studios in my district. He required us to walk into Walmart and get 30 customer's names, phone number, email addresses, home address, phone number, kids names, and ages from 30 people a DAY, EVERY DAY. Well after 6 months of doing that, you run into the same people. It got so bad that customers started running their carts into me because of my "pestering them" I couldn't take it any longer! I got injured on the job, which couldn't have been a bigger blessing. It gave me the time away to assess what I wanted, and I left back in 2011. That studio just closed down about 4 months ago. I have to laugh to myself because I know that I was the reason that it was even open.

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