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Ulta Beauty sees strong sales and earnings growth; shares falter on lowered guidance

Published
today Aug 29, 2019
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Bolingbrook, Illinois-based cosmetics retailer Ulta Beauty, Inc. reported a 12.0% increase in net sales for the second quarter ended August 3, 2019, on Thursday, but revised down its full-year guidance, citing headwinds in the US cosmetics market.
 

Shares in Ulta took a tumble on Thursday following the announcement of its lowered guidance - Instagram: @ultabeauty


The company’s quarterly net sales totaled $1.67 billion, up from $1.49 billion in the same period in the previous year, while comparable sales rose 6.2%, compared to a 6.5% increase in Q2 2018.
 
Net income jumped 8.7% from $148.3 million to $161.3 million, with diluted earnings per share (EPS) seeing a 12.2% boost to $2.76, compared to $2.46 in the prior-year period.

According to MarketWatch, Ulta’s results came in slightly under the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet, who had expected the retailer to post EPS of $2.80 on sales of $1.68 billion.
 
Over the course of the quarter, Ulta opened 20 new stores and closed three, ending the period with 1,213 retail locations.
 
Taking into account the first quarter, the retailer reported a 12.5% increase in net sales, which totaled $3.41 billion, up from $3.03 billion in the first six months of fiscal 2018. Comparable sales rose 6.6%.
 
Net income totaled $353.5 million, a 13.0% increase compared to the $312.7 million reported by Ulta in the prior-year period. Diluted earnings per share increased 16.7% to $6.02, up from $5.16.
 
“The Ulta Beauty team delivered another quarter of solid top-line performance, gross margin expansion, and double-digit earnings growth,” said Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon in a release. “Looking forward, we have updated our fiscal 2019 outlook to reflect the headwinds we are currently seeing in the US cosmetics market.”
 
In line with these statements, the company lowered its guidance for comparable sales in fiscal 2019, and now expects to see growth of approximately 4% to 6%, down from its previous outlook of an increase in the range of 6% to 7%.
 
Following the announcement of its lower than expected results and its reduced guidance, shares in Ulta fell more than 14% in the extended session on Thursday.  
 
Dillon, however, is optimistic about the retailer’s ability to weather any storms on the horizon. “We remain confident that our guest-centric, differentiated business model will drive continued market share gains and strong returns for our shareholders over the long term,” she concluded.

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