Party City Holdco Inc. (NYSE: PRTY), the brick-and-mortar retailer that’s a one-stop-shop for single-use, brightly-colored plastic crap and other festive decorations, is closing 45 of its 870 stores across the country. The reason behind this is that Party City is struggling to find enough of the gas to fill balloons, according to the CNN report.
Chief Executive Officer James M. Harrison announced in a statement that the closures would happen throughout 2019. The company has not decided which stores will be closed.
“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 designed to improve value perception, and increasing product competency in the area of paper straws as part of our focus on environmental sustainability,” Harrison said.
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.”
According to Barclays’ Matt McClintock, filling balloons with helium is among the company’s most profitable services. However, Helium is a finite resource on Earth and its supplies has been running out for several years. Over the past few years, some drillers have claimed to find troves of helium buried underground, but those haven’t always panned out.