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Ulta Beauty meets expectations with Q1 growth, plans Canadian expansion

Ulta Beauty saw net sales, net income, and same-store sales rise in a quarter that met Wall Street predictions, and is looking north for growth.

The specialty beauty retailer reported a 13% jump in net sales to $1.74 billion from $1.54 billion the same quarter the prior fiscal year. Net income climbed 17% to $192.2 million from $164.4 million the prior year period, and diluted earnings per share increased 21% to $3.26 from $2.70. Same-store sales rose 7%. Wall Street analysts had estimated Ulta would report net sales of $1.74 billion and same-store sales growth of 7%. EPS did beat the Street’s prediction of $3.06.

During the first quarter of fiscal 2019, the company opened 22 stores, ending the quarter with 1,196 stores. Ulta reiterated plans to open approximately 80 new stores, execute approximately 20 remodel or relocation projects, and complete approximately 270 store refreshes.

In addition, Ulta announced its plans to become an international retailer. The company intends to initially expand operations outside the U.S. in Canada.

Looking ahead to the full fiscal year, Ulta expects to increase total sales in the low double-digit percentage range, achieve same-store sales growth of approximately 6% to 7%, including e-commerce growth of 20% to 30%, and deliver diluted earnings per share in the range of $12.83 to $13.03. The company continues to expect that diluted earnings per share growth will be slightly weighted to the second half of the year, excluding the impact of the income tax benefit from the first quarter.

“The Ulta Beauty team delivered a strong start to the year with solid first-quarter sales and earnings performance,” said Mary Dillon, CEO, Ulta Beauty. “These results reflect a healthy balance of traffic and ticket growth, and double-digit comparable sales growth in mass cosmetics, skin care and fragrance, tempered by continued mixed performance in prestige cosmetics. We are driving operational excellence across the enterprise, while investing in growth initiatives to fuel the long-term success of Ulta Beauty.”
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