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Party City plans to close 45 stores this year

Party City said it typically closes just 10-15 stores each year.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Colorful balloons with helium

As retailers around the world scramble to deal with an ongoing helium shortage, Party City announced Thursday it plans to close 45 store locations this year. 

The party supplies company did not reveal which of its approximately 870 stores will be cut but said the closures will take place throughout the year. 

Party City CEO James Harrison said in a statement that they typically close 10-15 stores each year, but decided more closings were needed to "focus on the most profitable locations and improve the overall health of our store portfolio.” 

While discussing the company's first quarter financial results, Harrison admitted that a global helium shortage has deflated balloon sales. 

However, Harrison said Party City is working to line up a new supplier for helium and is finalizing contract details that would give its stores more helium starting this summer and continuing for two and a half 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.  

The global helium shortage is also impacting hospitals and the medical industry, which uses the gas in MRI machines.  

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