Party City to Close 45 Stores; CEO Says Closings Are 'Completely Unrelated' to Global Helium Shortage

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This story has been updated to reflect that Party City says its decision to close 45 stores is not related to the global helium shortage.   

There's been a shortage of helium lately, and it's left Party City struggling to fill all its balloons

The party supply chain also announced Thursday that it's closing 45 stores across the U.S. this year, but emphasized the closings had nothing to do with the helium shortage. 

“It’s important to note that Party City’s decision to close an increased number of stores in 2019 is completely unrelated to the global helium issue," said Party City CEO Jim Harrison in a statement. "These are two separate topics, the latter of which we’ve made significant in-roads in addressing."

He continued: "The decision to close 45 stores in 2019, is part of our network optimization process focusing on maximizing store performance on a market basis. We believe that the opportunity to recapture much of the business conducted in the closed stores in other Party City locations within the market, will provide for overall improved profitability for our Company. 

"It is also important to note that most of the stores being closed were themselves profitable on a stand-alone basis.” 

Party City did not say which of its more than 850 stores would close.

In an effort to address the shortage, Party City noted that it has found a new helium source that could provide its store with more of the gas over the next few 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," Harrison said.   

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