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Party City will close 45 stores because of the world's helium shortage

New York (CNN Business)Helium is the second-most abundant element in the galaxy, yet Party City is struggling to find enough of the gas to fill balloons.Balloons are big business for Party City (PRTY). The company's mylar balloon sales fell 8% last quarter, dragging overall sales down 1.4% at Party City stores open at least a year. Sales would have risen if not for the Party City's balloon problems, the company said Thursday.Filling balloons with helium is among the company's most profitable services, according to Barclays' Matt McClintock. Helium brings people into the store, and those customers usually buy other items instead of buying on Amazon (AMZN) or at another store. But with the earth's (and Party City's) helium supplies dwindling, ...