With a continuing global helium shortage, Party City has announced it will close 45 stores in 2019.
The New Jersey-based party supplies chain did not release which store locations would be affected by the closures, but officials did confirm they would take gradually throughout the year, according to a USA Today report.
On Thursday, James M. Harrison, chief executive officer for Party City, released a statement on the company’s first quarter financial results, noting the negative impact of the helium shortage. The company typically would close a fraction of the stores, about 10-15, on an annual basis compared to this year’s projections.
“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,” according to Harrison’s investment statement.
There are more than 900 Party City stores in the U.S. and Canada and the closures represent about 5% of locations. Local news outlets have so far reported closings in California, Illinois, Connecticut and Washington, according to USA Today.
Harrison said the company was hopeful that a new source for helium would allow Party City’s remaining stores to withstand the helium shortage.
“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 in the statement.
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