Ulta Beauty puts temporary stop on in-store beauty services

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Ulta Beauty puts temporary stop on in-store beauty services

By Marianne Wilson - 03/13/2020

Ulta Beauty is temporarily suspending some of its salon services in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus.

The beauty giant has put its skin, makeup, brow, lash and waxing services on hold. Additionally, it is taking a “no-touch approach” when it comes to store associates assisting customers with makeup and skincare selection. It has not stopped hair services, however, at least not as of March 13.

“Hair services will continue, and we’ll be increasing our focus on hand washing, chair and hard surface cleaning before and after every guest, and tool sanitization,” Ulta CEO Mary Dillon wrote in a note on the chain’s website. “If you have a hair appointment and you’re not feeling well, please reschedule. We’ll be monitoring the situation closely and hair services may be modified in certain areas; please check with your local store for more information.

In addition to its regular cleaning procedures, Ulta has added increased sanitization measures to all locations with extra attention to product testers and high traffic areas. Customers that want to use a tester or trial a product are now requested to ask a store associate for help.

"We have a cross-functional team meeting daily to respond to and plan for any potential impacts this may have on our associates or operations, and we're working closely with our partners to manage any potential disruption to our supply chain," Dillon said on the chain’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday. (For the fourth quarter, Ulta’s net income increased 3.7% to $222.7 and net sales increased 8.5% to $2.30 billion.)

On the call, Dillon said that some stores started to feel the impact of the coronavirus outbreak this week, but that it varies by market. 

"On the flip side, our e-commerce business has continued to perform strongly, and I'd say that's true broadly, really even including affected areas,” Dillon told analysts on the call. 

As the threat of a recession, Dillon said that Ulta’s business model could moderate like others during a recession. But “our category will we think perform better than others in retail, as we've seen historically," she added.

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