Ulta off to 'terrific start' with strong Q1

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Beauty retailer Ulta had a "terrific start to the year," as it posted strong double-digit gains in both net sales and same-store sales during the first quarter.

For the quarter ended April 30, net sales rose 20.6% to $386 million. Same-store sales rose 11.1%, compared with an increase of 10.8% in the year-ago period.

Net income increased 70.5% to $23.3 million, or 37 cents per diluted share.

"During the quarter, we gained market share advancing each of the priorities we set at the beginning of the year," Ulta president and CEO Chuck Rubin said. "To this end, we were pleased with our new store performance and remain on track to expand square footage by 16% this year. We generated consumer excitement and heightened interest in Ulta with newness across categories, brands and services. In addition, we saw robust growth in guest count in our Ulta stores and at Ulta.com as we leveraged our active 8 million member loyalty base and delivered compelling social media, email and direct mail marketing campaigns."

For the second quarter, the company expects net sales in the range of $378 million to $384 million, compared with actual net sales of $321.8 million in second quarter 2010. This assumes a same-store sales increase of 6% to 8%.

Income per diluted share during the second quarter is estimated to be between 31 cents and 33 cents.

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