According to a press release, pickup and delivery to retail locations will be terminated by end of March 2009. About 300 employees at the Qualex labs in Dallas (Texas), Allentown (Pennsylvania) and Hamilton (Ontario, Canada) as well as at the Qualex headquarters in Durham, North Carolina, are affected. Kodak has announced to offer employees a separation package including severance payments and outplacement assistance.
Brad Kruchten, Kodak Vice President and General Manager, Retail Printing Solutions, pointed out that the closure of the Qualex labs is due to the fact that consumer demand for pictures has become focused on either in-store or home options. This year, Kodak introduced the Adaptive Picture Exchange (Apex) digital lab system that enables retailers to produce prints with dye sublimation technology on-site without the consumption of water or chemicals. Kodak has also installed 95,000 of its picture kiosks worldwide and offers a line of home inkjet printers. Via its Kodak Gallery, the company provides online photo services.
Qualex‘ Event Imaging Solutions division, which offers themed picture taking at theme parks, malls and special effents, will continue operations.