Dollar Tree warns balloon sales could be hit by helium shortage

A global helium shortage could blow up projects for graduation balloons and birthday party decorations.

Why is this important: Dollar Tree officials said on Thursday they were “once again” experiencing a helium shortage and it could negatively affect balloon sales.

  • In 2019, before the COVID-related shortages, helium was in short supply.
  • Helium is also used in airbags, cryogenics, rocket fuel, MRI machines and for scuba diving.

What is happening: Dollar Tree officials discussed the shortage Thursday during its quarterly earnings call, and Party City discussed the shortage during a May 9 call with analysts.

  • Major helium suppliers have placed allowances on the odorless gas, Party City CEO Brad Weston said.
  • The National Weather Service is also facing shortages of key gases it uses to fill weather balloons, and several balloon sites have had to limit launches due to supply chain shortages as well as a contract dispute. regarding a supplier of hydrogen gas.
  • The Nebraska Cornhuskers football team has suspended its red ball tradition at home games due to the shortage, Nebraska athletic director Trev Alberts announced Monday.

What they say : “The university has asked us that the helium we get as a university be used for medical purposes at UNMC in Omaha,” Trev Alberts said on his radio show, KMTV Omaha reported. “And so this year we’re not going to provide the red balls for the first time at Memorial Stadium.”

  • “The good news is that we’ve secured helium to meet our customers’ needs, which is important ahead of our key graduation season,” Weston said earlier this month. “For reference, today 97% of our fleet is in stock with helium compared to the period 2018, 2019 where around a third of our fleet was helium free at one point.”

Our thought bubble: If you plan to have balloons filled in the coming days and weeks, call ahead to make sure helium is available. Or prepare with an alternative decoration.