LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – It could get more difficult to throw a party with helium balloons.
Party City has announced plans to close 45 locations throughout the year, stating the closures are not related to the global helium shortage.
Party City Chief Executive Officer James Harrison said in a release, “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. 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.”
There are currently 870 Party City stores in the US and Canada.
Three of those stores are in Arkansas.
A full list of the stores to be shuttered has not yet been released.
“Each year, Party City typically closes 10-15 stores as a part of our prudent network optimization process and in response to ongoing consumer, market and economic changes that naturally arise in the business. 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,” says CEO Jim Harrison.
In regards to the helium shortage, the company addresses the issue in the following statement.
“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. 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. We remain encouraged by the 2019 tailwinds that will present themselves later this year, including a strong IP calendar, a Thursday Halloween and anticipated benefits from supply chain investments that we made following disruptions that impacted the business in 2018,” says CEO Jim Harrison.