Economy

Party City closing 45 locations amid helium shortage; list of closures

Party City closing 45 locations amid helium shortage; list of closures”

The party is over for Party City, as the company has announced it will close 45 stores.

It is common for massive chains to close down shops that are not performing well but James Harrison, chief exec of Party City, noted that this year that number had more than doubled. The chain closes around 10-15 stores per year.

"Despite these helium challenges in the first quarter, we made progress on many fronts operationally and our global team continued to execute against our key strategic priorities including: developing plans to test new store concepts, implementing pricing initiatives created to improve value perception, and increasing product competency in the area of paper straws as part of our focus on environmental sustainability", Harrison said.

Some of the stores which will be closed are located in Santa Clarita, Banning and Hemet in California; Meriden in Connecticut; DeKalb in IL; and Moses Lake in Washington.

In addition to party favours and balloons, helium is used as a cooling agent in MRI machines, in rocket cleaners, in airbags and microscopes in addition to other technologies.

At this time, the reserves are being depleted.

"Helium supply has always been a little up in the air (pun intended)..." The demand for the gas is growing while about 75 percent of helium comes from three suppliers in the world, USA Today reported. "Because of this global helium shortage, fulfillment of balloon orders may be affected at your store". The company ended the quarter with $1,991 million in debt.

However, in Thursday's press release, Party City said it had begun the process of negotiating a deal for an alternative source to helium, which meant the company's woes regarding the short supply of its main ingredient might soon be over.

The company is based in Westchester County in Elmsford with its headquarters in Rockaway, New Jersey.

But the retailer has signed a new helium source agreement that will provide it with additional quantities beginning this summer, and continuing for the next two-and-a-half years.



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