Ulta Beauty continues to refine its near-term new store plans as it continues to navigate the impact of COVID-19.
The beauty giant expects to open approximately 30 new stores in fiscal 2020. (Pre-pandemic, Ulta planned to open about 75 stores). The retailer temporarily paused its new store growth in the first quarter due to the pandemic, but openings are expected to resume in August 2020.
Ulta did not reveal store openings plans for fiscal 2021, saying only that it anticipates opening additional new stores in the U.S. Also, the retailer said it will make its entry to Canada in mid-2021 with a number of stores.
In addition, after evaluating its existing store portfolio, Ulta plans to permanently close 19 stores in the second and third quarter of 2020. (As of May 2, 2020, the company had 1,264 retail stores across 50 states.)
“We anticipate COVID-19 will influence longer-term market shifts and create new real estate opportunities, supporting our ambition to ultimately operate between 1,500 to 1,700 Ulta Beauty stores in the U.S.,” said Mary Dillon, CEO. “To do so, we are proactively optimizing our real estate portfolio and have made strategic decisions to temporarily reduce new store openings and close a limited number of stores this year. Overall, our real estate portfolio generates healthy returns, and this limited and targeted approach to closing stores will position Ulta Beauty for even stronger financial performance in the future.”
As of July 21, Ulta Beauty has completed its phased store reopening process. In addition to its previously announced shop safety standards, as of July 21, all shoppers and employees are required to wear facial coverings when in stores.