Ulta reports profits for third quarter 2008

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. Beauty retailer Ulta posted double-digit gains in sales and profit during the third quarter but lowered its full year guidance in light of the challenging economy.

“In these unprecedented times, we remain confident in our strategies and financial position,” said Lyn Kirby, president and chief executive officer. “We are pleased with the recent start to the holiday season and the strategies that are driving these results, and if consumers continue to spend on their current trend, we would anticipate delivering fourth quarter comp sales in line with third quarter performance. However, we recognize that the majority of the gift season remains in front of us in the most volatile economy we have seen in decades.”

Net sales for the quarter ended Nov. 3 rose 22.4 percent to $254.8 million. Same-store sales rose 2 percent.

Net income rose 19.3 percent to $5 million. Income per diluted share was 9 cents compared with 5 cents per share in the year-ago period.

During the quarter, the company opened 21 stores, including its first urban location on State Street in Chicago, and ended the period with 304 stores.

For the full year, income per diluted share is now expected to be between 47 cents and 51 cents, which compares to its previous guidance range for income per diluted share of 52 cents to 57 cents.

Net sales for the full year are expected to be between $1.1 billion and $1.11 billion, compared with its previous guidance range of net sales between $1.12 billion to $1.13 billion and versus net sales last year of $912.1 million.

For 2009, the company trimmed its new store expansion pace to 15 percent to 20 percent square footage growth.

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