Ulta Beauty sees 23.2% boost in holiday sales

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Ulta Beauty announced on Friday that holiday sales experienced robust double-digit growth as sales “strongly” rebounded the weekend before Christmas.

Total sales for the seven-week holiday period were $475.6 million, a 23.2% increase from the prior year holiday period’s sales of $386 million. Comparable-store sales for the 2012 holiday period increased 7.4%, on top of a 12.6% increase during the same period in the prior year. Over a two-year period, comparable-store sales increased 20%. The company’s comparable store sales exclude e-commerce sales.

“We were pleased with our holiday sales 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. Customers were more sensitive to value as they shopped our stores and online throughout the holiday period. We believe we gained market share across our major categories, with prestige skin care and cosmetics delivering our strongest growth. We are confident our strategy will continue to drive market share gains and positions us well for long-term growth,” stated Chuck Rubin, president and CEO.

In addition, the beauty retailer reaffirmed its fourth quarter fiscal 2012 outlook that was provided in conjunction with its third quarter fiscal 2012 results announced on Nov. 29.

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% to 7%, which includes the impact from Hurricane Sandy. Fourth quarter fiscal 2011 comparable sales increased 11.5%. This sales guidance range reflects expectations for two-year comparable-store sales to increase 16.5% to 18.5%, the company stated.

Income per diluted share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 is estimated to be in the range of 96 cents to 98 cents. This compares with income per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2011 of 73 cents.


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