Party City To Shutter 45 Stores Due To Helium Shortage

Party City ran out of helium to fill its balloons

National party supply chain Party City will close 45 stores this year as the company seeks to support stronger performing stores in the wake of global helium shortage.

In a statement, CEO James Harrison says the company typically closes between 10 to 15 stores a year.

He added, "Most importantly, we have signed a letter of agreement for a new source of helium which, subject to final execution of a definitive contract, would provide for additional quantities of helium beginning this summer and continuing for the next 2.5 years".

"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", said Harrison.

The party supply company, which based in New Jersey, hasn't announced which of its 870 locations will be impacted.

Balloons bring in big business for Party City, which generates a large profit from filling them with helium, but in the last quarter sales have dropped by 8 %, CNN Business noted.

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Helium, the second lightest element in the universe, is created by the slow radioactive decay of rock below the Earth's surface.

Seventy-five percent of the world's helium comes from sites in Qatar, Wyoming and Texas, but US reserves are running low, and may not be replenished. The natural gas in Utah, Texas, Colorado, Kansas and Wyoming is richer in helium than in other states, which is why there are extraction plants in those areas, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management.

"Helium supply has always been a little up in the air (pun intended)..."

The party store giant is having a hard time keeping up with the high demand for balloons.

The company says they will focus on the the most successful locations to help improve the company's portfolio.

With the recent helium shortage, a slew of industries-from party suppliers to medical and aerospace technologies-were all affected. The company ended the quarter with $1,991 million in debt.

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