Speed Reads


Party City is shuttering stores due to a global helium shortage

Party City's future is a little up in the air amid a global helium shortage.

The party supply company announced Thursday that it will shutter 45 of its 870 stores, reports USA Today. This comes as the retail giant faces a growing demand for balloons despite a record low helium supply. Nearly 75 percent of the world's helium comes from only three locations — and with much of that supply going to the medical and aerospace industries, helium for party balloons has become less of a priority, writes USA Today.

"We're working to replenish the helium at the affected stores as more supply becomes available," wrote Party City in a statement. "Despite this helium hiccup, Party City is committed to helping you to throw an unforgettable party."

Party City has been steadily shrinking for years. In a statement, Party City's CEO James Harrison says the retailer closes 10 to 15 stores annually.

It's not only balloons that are taking the hit. Scientists told USA Today the global helium crisis will eventually impact crucial MRI scans, magnets and other life-saving medical devices. For now, the news just means Party City will have to encourage party planners to stick with confetti.