Party City is having trouble staying afloat amid a global helium shortage.
The New Jersey-based party supply company announced Thursday it will close around 45 stores nationwide this year as it grapples with dwindling supplies of the critical gas.
Balloons have become more difficult to find at party stores as the helium reserves of some major suppliers in the US have been depleted. The demand for the gas is growing while about 75 percent of helium comes from three suppliers in the world, USA Today reported
“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,” CEO James Harrison said in a release
The company said it typically shutters 10 to 15 stores each year, but with the future of helium up in the air, it’ll be closing nearly 5 percent of locations.
The chain didn’t disclose whether any Big Apple locations would be affected — but closings have been reported in Connecticut, Illinois, California and Washington, according to USA Today
Meanwhile, the party chain is scrambling to find new helium supplies.
“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,” Harrison said.
“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.”