BEAUTY CARE

Ulta Beauty delivers top line growth in Q3

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Ulta Beauty posted strong double-digit gains during its third quarter thanks in part to strength in sales of prestige cosmetics and skin care and strong online sales.

Sales for the quarter ended Oct. 27 rose 22.4% to $618.8 million. Same-store sales rose 6.8%, including the impact of e-commerce sales.

Net income increased 19.1% to $45.4 million compared with $38.2 million. Income per diluted share rose 18.6% to 70 cents per share, including 2 cents per diluted share related to a severance charge.

During the quarter, e-commerce sales grew 74.4%, representing 170 basis points of the total company same-store sales increase.

“[The third quarter] was an excellent quarter for Ulta.com, demonstrating continued momentum on the top line despite tough prior year comparisons and a major site relaunch,” said Mary Dillon, CEO, during the company’s recent quarterly conference call with analysts. “Our limited-time Beauty Breaks!, our sample beauty bags and CRM program all contributed to better-than-expected sales growth.”

The new platform was rolled out over a period of several weeks and was revamped to enhance visibility to its product assortment, highlighting bestsellers and featuring products across all categories. Search capabilities were improved and brands were recognized for greater visibility.

Ulta noted that it is the one of the first retailers to feature Responsive Web Design, a new technology that enables a consistent browsing experience regardless of the device being used — a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

Also helping to fuel sales was prestige cosmetics and skin care. Dillon noted that prestige cosmetics and skin care continue to be the strongest categories, while it experienced some softness in nail and fragrance — in line with industry-wide trends.

Dillon, who joined the company in July, said that looking ahead the company will need to find new ways to grow.

“I believe there are significant opportunities ahead for Ulta in areas such as driving higher brand awareness; developing smaller and urban store formats; increasing our digital presence, both online and in store; and growing our capabilities to enable initiatives like localization of assortment,” Dillon told analysts.

As for 2014, the company plans to embark on a number of smaller in-store projects like additional prestige boutiques and reflowing the mass cosmetics program in some of its older stores to make the shopping experience in that category more consistent across the chain.

Another area of focus: its loyalty program. Dillon said the company continues to see increases in retention in its loyalty customer base. There are currently 12.5 million active loyalty members who have shopped within the past 12 months, up 18% compared with last year.  

 

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N.Y.C. New York Color unveils new products for 2014

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK  — N.Y.C. New York Color, a Coty brand, has developed an array of new products for eyes and lips that will be hitting retail shelves in March.

In line with the bold lip trend and furthering its appeal among ethnic shoppers, N.Y.C. has developed new lip products that come in bright, vibrant shades like Canal St. Coral, Rapture Red and Fulton St. Fuchsia.

Beauty mavens looking to enhance their pout can select from the new Expert Last Lip Color collection or City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Color collection.

The Expert Last Lip Color collection is a conditioning lipstick that offers high-impact color and promises to stay on for up to six hours. It is packaged in a color-matched component to help shoppers find their favorite shade and is priced at $1.99 each.

The City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Color is long-wearing lip color in a twistable chubby stick. It comes in 12 highly pigmented shades and perfectly outlines lips without bleeding or feathering. It is priced at $2.99 each.

For eyes, there’s the new Big Bold Volume by the Lash mascara, the new City Proof Buildable mascara and Show Time Velvet eyeliner pencils.

The new Big Bold Volume by the Lash mascara is the fourth product in the brand’s Bold franchise, and this new formula promises to make lashes up to 12 times fuller and thicker. It is priced at $4.99 each.

Further expanding the City Proof line is the new City Proof Buildable mascara, which gives you endless options in one tube. It is the ultimate buildable mascara for a customizable look from natural to dramatic. It is priced at $3.49 each.

Offering a new twist on the black eyeliner pencil is Show Time. These dark, highly pigmented pencil eyeliners come in Black Velvet, Black Brown and Black Wine. The eyeliner is easy to blend and versatile and comes in the pencil form for ultimate control. It is priced at $1.99 each.

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Walgreens, Wet ‘n Wild and pop star Fergie present donation to amfAR

BY Antoinette Alexander

LOS ANGELES — Value beauty brand Wet ‘n Wild and its global beauty ambassador, eight-time Grammy award-winning artist, Fergie, had a big reason to celebrate on Dec. 5th. Together with Walgreens, they made a $50,000 donation to amfAR, the American foundation for AIDS research, amidst a plethora of celebrity and industry attendees at an exclusive party held at Tao Downtown in the New York City Meatpacking District.
 
The event marked the pop star’s first public appearance since welcoming her first child, Axl Jack Duhamel, this past August.

A longtime supporter of amfAR, Fergie and Wet ‘n Wild collaborated this year in curating her Perfect Pout Lip Color in V.I.Pink for the cause. As part of her Fergie CenterStage collection sold exclusively at Walgreens, the three parties pledged to donate 50 cents from each sale of her lipstick to amfAR. At the bash they presented the foundation with a check totaling more than $50,000.

“Walgreens has enjoyed collaborating with Wet ‘n Wild and was thrilled to participate in this initiative to help support the amfAR organization,” stated Shannon Curtin, group VP beauty and personal care at Walgreens. “This collaboration reflected our efforts to build awareness and raise funding to continue research, and help people get, stay and live well.”

Fergie and Wet ‘n Wild have been partners since announcing her as the global beauty ambassador in March 2012, and the charitable initiative kicked off with Fergie’s appearance on Good Morning America in March earlier this year. Fergie was then honored at the third annual amfAR Inspiration Gala in Brazil in April, during which she received the amfAR Piaget Award of Inspiration.

 

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