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Ulta Beauty shines in Q1, but Q2 guidance soft

Ulta Beauty’s earnings in the first quarter blew past analysts, but the retailer sounded a cautious note for the current quarter.

Ulta Beauty on Thursday reported that its net income increased 28.2% to $164.4 million in the quarter ended May 5. Earnings per diluted share increased 31.7% to $2.70, topping analysts’ estimates of $2.48 a share.

Net sales increased 17.4% to $1.54 billion, topping Street estimates. Same-store sales rose 8.1%, driven by 5.1% transaction growth and 3.0% growth in average ticket. Retail comparable sales increased 4.7%, including salon comparable sales growth of 3.2%.

E-commerce sales increased 48.0% to $154.4 million. Salon sales increased 10.1% to $75.7 million.

As previously announced, Ulta expects to open 100 stores in its current fiscal year.

“Our first quarter results represent a solid start to 2018, with better than expected sales and earnings growth,” said Mary Dillon, CEO. “This performance reflects our highly differentiated business model that continues to drive healthy retail comparable store sales, excellent new store productivity, and continued strength of our e-commerce business.”

Ulta is raising its previously announced 2018 guidance for earnings per share to EPS growth in the low-20s percentage range, versus the 20% gain it had previously forecast. But its second quarter sales and earnings projections were less than expected.

The company ended the first quarter with 1,107 stores.
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