Balloon sales dropped 8% last quarter for Party City, deflating its overall sales 1.4%. But don’t worry, people still love to party. It’s actually because of a global helium crisis.
According to the company, sales would have floated up if not for their gas problems. Instead, the celebration corporation has to let the air out of 45 of its stores — tripling the number it usually closes per year.
‘Where’s the helium?’ the party animal said in a chipmunk voice.
Helium is the second-most-abundant element in the solar system, but it has been running low for years down here on Earth.
Now, the US government’s helium reserves are almost depleted — forcing the Bureau of Land Management to ration its supplies. Problem is, market demand keeps on keepin’ on.
Helium’s also vital for several medical devices — like MRI machines — so, yeah, putting balloon fuel on the back burner makes sense.
Now, Party City’s digging through couches to find it
The company has signed an agreement for a new source of helium that might fill its stores with more of the gas for the next 2 ½ years (at a steeper price). But no one will know until the helium’s actually canned.
What’s worse, balloons may not start inflating again until summer. That’s bad news for Party City because springtime is graduation time — AKA peak balloon season, people!