By: Jared Leone, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Party City announced Thursday it is closing 45 stores later this year, and that its business has been hurt by an unexpected culprit — a global helium shortage. The shortage has hurt the company’s ability to fulfill balloon orders.
Company CEO James Harrison said in a news release that the company has identified a new source for helium, which, upon final approval of the deal, would start producing additional quantities of the buoyant gas for the next two and a half years beginning this summer.
“We believe this new source should substantially eliminate the shortfall we are experiencing at current allocation rates and improve our ability to return to a normal level of latex and metallic balloon sales,” Harrison said.
A company spokesperson said the store closures were not directly related to the helium shortage. The company usually closes 10-15 stores a year, Harrison said.
“This year, after careful consideration and evaluation of our store fleet, we’ve made the decision to close more stores than usual in order to help optimize our market-level performance, focus on the most profitable locations and improve the overall health of our store portfolio,” Harrison said.
There are 870 Party City locations throughout the United States and Canada. While a list of stores has not been released, some locations in California, Washington, Illinois and Connecticut are affected, Business Insider reported.