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Ulta Beauty Q3 earnings top estimates, but outlook is mixed

The powerhouse that is Ulta Beauty delivered another strong quarter of earnings and revenue even as its same-store sales growth cooled.

Net income increased 19.5% to $104.6 million, or $1.70 a share, in the quarter ended Oct. 28, compared to $87.6 million, or $1.40 per share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had expected earnings of $1.66 a share.

Net sales increased 18.6% to $1. 34 billion from $1.13 billion last year. The retailer estimated approximately $14 million in lost sales due to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Total same-store sales increased 10.3%, compared to an increase of 16.7% last year, and were driven by 6.0% transaction growth and 4.3% growth in average ticket. The company estimates that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma resulted in approximately 100 basis points of negative impact to comparable stores sales in the third quarter of fiscal 2017.

E-commerce sales grew 62.9% to $119.8 million from $73.6 million last year, representing 370 basis points of the total company comparable sales increase of 10.3%.

“Our third quarter results clearly demonstrate the strength and distinct advantages of the Ulta Beauty business model,” said Mary Dillon, CEO. “We delivered double digit comparable sales growth, in spite of a moderation in the growth rate of our largest category -- makeup -- and meaningful disruption from hurricanes. We flexed our merchandising and marketing plans, leveraged our consumer insights and CRM platform, and worked with our brand partners to create compelling offers for our guests."

Ulta expects fourth-quarter sales between $1.93 million to $1.96 million, with a same-store sales increase of 8% to 10%. It estimated fourth-quarter per-share earnings between $2.73 to $2.78. Analysts were looking for earnings of $2.83 a share on sales of $1.93 billion and a same-store sales increase of 9.4%

During the third quarter, the retailer opened 48 stores. It ended the quarter with 1,058 stores.
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