Boots will not rule out that it may be forced to close its entire fleet of 520 traditional film processing labs, putting hundreds more jobs at risk.
The news comes as a source confirmed to Amateur Photographer (AP) that 160 in-store labs are set to be scrapped, affecting 200 jobs.
AP can reveal that six Boots stores have already seen their labs close as part of the nationwide shake-up.
‘Digital cameras have been around for a long time,’ said the source who suggested that closures are inevitable if the service is no longer being used.
‘While there is demand, the service will always be there.’
However, the source added: ‘We can’t say how things will change in the future.’
AP understands that the chain has not discussed the closure of further labs, other than the 160 already planned.
Boots will, instead, outsource film processing at the affected branches.
The fresh revelations follow a report in AP a few weeks ago confirming that a branch in Surrey had cancelled all in-store film processing.
However, Boots has refused to say where customers’ films will be sent for processing, or whether the service will be more expensive.
Nor would the company tell AP how many workers it employs at its 520 film photo labs nationwide.
Boots expects to redeploy the 200 affected staff, relating to the closures already announced, elsewhere in the same store.
Boots UK said in a statement: ‘The way our customers use photo services in the market has changed significantly over recent years, and as a result, we are updating the service across a number of our stores.
‘We are not closing the photo departments in stores, but adapting some of their services to respond to changing customer demands.
‘Customers will still be able to use the instant print services and will have the opportunity to order lab quality prints and creative products, which will continue to be available via in-store kiosks.
‘We are working to offer redeployment opportunities for those employees potentially impacted by this change.’
Boots has yet to announce the timing of the closures.