Rockaway, NJ-Party City Corp., America's largest party supplies chain, announced today that its chain-wide store count has grown to 451 stores now that The Party Supermarket Inc. agreed to join its Party City chain as a franchisee. Party Supermarket owns and operates 23 party supply stores in the Florida and Philadelphia markets. In connection with the transaction, Party City sold three stores in the Florida market to Party Supermarket for $1.2 million in cash. Party City is also closing one of its Florida stores. After the transaction is fully consummated, Party City will have 195 company-owned stores and 256 franchise stores. Gordon Keil, senior vice president of franchising at Party City, stated, "We are extremely pleased to announce the expansion of our chain to include the stores operated by Party Supermarket. We believe the key strengths we bring to Party Supermarket include our merchandising expertise, our focus on the Halloween market, as well as the impact of national advertising programs and branding. This transaction is a confirmation of our leadership in the party supplies business." Bruce Konners, vice president of Party Supermarket, also noted, "We believe Party City offers us significant advantages that are not available to the smaller chain operator. These include improved merchandise selection, centralized advertising production and a host of other services. As a Party City franchisee, we have the benefit of our knowledge of the local markets, together with the efficiencies only a large chain can command." -Business Wire