Party City may have once been your one-stop shop for all the festive supplies you needed to decorate for a birthday party, graduation party or any event you chose to celebrate but you may have to find a new store to shop at if you live near one of the many stores that are set to close. The party supply chain has recently announced plans to close 45 of its stores in 2019 due in part to a helium shortage that is affecting sales.
“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,” Party City Chief Executive Officer James Harrison said in a statement on the company’s website.
The company didn't announce which of the existing 870 Party City stores across Canada and the United States they would be closing, but a spokesperson told NorthJersey.com that the affected stores would be "in various locations across the country." The company has claimed it's found a new helium supplier which they are hoping will provide them with helium for the next two and a half years, Party City CEO James Harrison said in a statement to CNN.
"We believe this new source should substantially eliminate the shortfall we are experiencing," he added, before pointing out the shortfall is affecting them now. "Obviously graduation is a big season for balloons, no doubt about that," Harrison added.
This shortfall also means an increase in price. Party City stated their new supplier is charging more than their old supplier, and consumers will definitely feel the effect of the cost increase, at least for now. "Over time, will helium come back down in price? Nobody knows. We'll see," Harrison said.
In a separate statement, Harrison maintained the helium shortage wasn't the reason for the store closures, more that it was an effort to streamline profits.
“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. These are two separate topics, the latter of which we’ve made significant in-roads in addressing,” Harrison said. “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.”