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Ulta Beauty revels in Happy Holiday sales hike

By Andrew MCDOUGALL , 08-Jan-2013
Last updated the 08-Jan-2013 at 17:33 GMT

It was certainly a Happy Holiday for Ulta Beauty as it posted a 23.3 percent sales increase to reaffirm its fourth quarter outlook and keep it on course for the year.

Total sales for the seven-week holiday period (from November 11 to December 29, 2012) were $475.6 million, a big hike from the prior year holiday period's sales of $386.0 million.

Comparable store sales, excluding e-Commerce, for the 2012 holiday period increased 7.4 percent, on top of a 12.6 percent increase during the same period in the prior year.

Consumer behavior

Company president and CEO, Chuck Rubin, expressed particular delight at the positive performance given the numerous national news events that appeared to have curtailed customer purchasing behavior across most of retail.

“After a record sales performance during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend, sales in December slowed before strongly rebounding the weekend before Christmas,” he said.

“Customers were more sensitive to value as they shopped our stores and on-line throughout the holiday period. We believe we gained market share across our major categories, with prestige skincare and cosmetics delivering our strongest growth.”

Increased expectations

The Company expects fourth quarter fiscal 2012 net sales in the range of $742 million to $754 million. Fourth quarter fiscal 2011 net sales were $582.5 million.

Comparable store sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 are expected to increase in a range of 5-7 percent, which includes the impact from hurricane Sandy.

“We are confident our strategy will continue to drive market share gains and positions us well for long term growth," added Rubin.

Building toward success

Ulta Beauty third quarter results saw sales up higher than expected due to an increase in market share across several product categories.

Results showed that net sales increased 22.4 percent to $505.6 million for the third quarter this year, compared to $413.1 million during the same period last year.

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