Business Insider says that Party City has announced that it will close 45 stores this year, and one of the reasons for the closures may surprise you.  Apparently, there is a global shortage of helium, which has cost the price of the gas to soar.  Of course, one of Party City's best-selling items is helium-filled balloons.

Party City has several area locations, including Hamilton Marketplace, Fairless Hills Shopping Center, Liberty Square in Burlington, Millside Shopping Center in Delran, and East Gate Square in Mt. Laurel.  Business Insider has only confirmed 6 of the stores that will be closing, but of those 6, none are in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

According to CNBC, helium is a naturally-occurring resource that "cannot be produced efficiently and economically."  75 percent of the world's supply of helium come from sites in Qatar, Wyoming and Texas, but many are becoming depleted.  And while the lack of helium-filled balloons may be depressing, the scarier result of the helium shortage is the fact that it "is an important component of medical and aerospace technology."

In a call with investors, Party City CEO, James M. Harrison, did say that the company had "signed a letter of agreement for a new source of helium which...would provide for additional quantities of helium beginning this summer and continuing for the next 2.5 years."