Party City has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as the company struggles with increasing prices and a slowdown in customer spending.
The party may not be over yet, as Party City’s 830 company-owned and franchise stores in North America and website will remain in business during its bankruptcy proceedings.
Additionally, the New Jersey-based company said its franchised stores, subsidiaries outside the United States, and its Anagram balloon business are not a part of its restructuring and will remain core components of the business, according to an Associated Press (AP) report.
The company is reportedly planning for an expedited restructuring that will drastically lower its debt and free up cash.
Party City has received a commitment for $150 million in debtor-in-possession financing. The company said the funding, subject to court approval, would provide enough cash flow to continue its operations.
The retailer faces stiff competition from retailers Walmart and Target and pop-up stores like Spirit Halloween. Rising costs of helium, used in filling the balloons Party City has been known for, has put pressure on the company in recent years.
“Helium costs have increased as global supply has been slower to recover than expected,” Party CEO Brad Weston said on the company’s most recent earnings call.
Some analysts have suggested that the company will need to fundamentally alter its business model in order to successfully navigate the shifting consumer environment.
“Party City used to be one of the best games in town, but it is now something of an also-ran operation,” said Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail. “There is likely still something of a role for Party City, but the company needs to financially restructure and to rethink its approach.”
Saunders continued to suggest that Party City should realign how it reaches its customers by establishing more attractive locations and boosting its e-commerce capabilities.
Party City, a public company, saw a 3.2% decline in same-store sales in the third quarter. Total sales fell in line with analysts’ expectations but were at the lower end of estimates.
Trouble for Party City had been at a breaking point since late last year, as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) threatened to remove the company’s stock from the New York Stock Exchange for falling under the $1 minimum price point for more than 30 days in December. Party City’s stock is currently halted on the market at $0.37.
Party City went public in 2015 with a $17 per share IPO price.
The company expects its restructuring to be completed in the second quarter.