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Ulta Beauty posts solid Q1 results, looks to add Lancome boutiques

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Ulta Beauty is "off to a great start" as it posted a double-digit gain in first-quarter same-store sales and gears up for the addition of more Lancôme boutiques in its stores.

Same-store sales for the quarter rose 10.1% as net sales rose 22.8% to $474.1 million.

Net income totaled $34.9 million, up 49.7% from $23.3 million in the year-ago period. Income per diluted share rose 45.9% to 54 cents, compared with 37 cents in the year-ago period.

"2012 is off to a great start. Our team delivered another quarter of excellent financial performance by continuing to execute on our five point strategy of accelerating store growth, introducing our guests to new brands, products and services, enhancing our loyalty program, broadening our marketing reach and increasing our focus on Ulta.com," Ulta president and CEO Chuck Rubin said. "… Also, we are pleased to announce that we have completed an analysis of the long-term potential in the U.S. for our 10,000 sq.-ft. store model and have increased our store plan by 20% to 1,200 stores, compared to our previous estimate of 1,000 stores."

Rubin also stated that it will be adding new Lancôme boutiques to approximately 50 additional stores prior to this holiday selling season. This will bring its total Lancôme boutique count to about 79. It also will be making additional investments in selected stores to improve its prestige offering and accommodate the future addition of other prestige brand boutiques.

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Workforce reduction confirmed at Albertsons

BY Allison Cerra

FULLERTON, Calif. — A store-level workforce reduction is planned for Albertsons’ Southern California division.

The Supervalu subsidiary said 2,200 to 2,500 positions would be eliminated across all Albertsons stores in California and Nevada and is expected to directly impact a small number of positions at any specific store location. The company said the workforce reduction aims to "[simplify] its organization and reducing expenses to help reinvest in more customer facing initiatives" and added that "Albertsons has not kept pace with the changing needs of its customers for a number of reasons."

"A decision of this nature is never easy, but it is the necessary step for us to take to help improve our business and accelerate our turnaround," Albertsons’ Southern California division president Dan Sanders said. "Our goal is to more effectively serve the marketplace by scheduling associates more appropriately to serve customers at the times they shop. I am confident our team will embrace these changes and help us to compete more effectively in a rapidly changing marketplace."

The workforce reduction will go into effect the week of June 17 and should be completed near July 1, the company said.

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G.Vimont says:
Jun-06-2012 07:51 pm

LOL -- In other words, there will actually be less customer service in order to reduce costs. The flowery words are nothing but a repeat made from the retail industry. I do have to give Albertsons credit for one thing. They didn't use the phrase industry standards.

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Rite Aid launches healthy skin campaign

BY Alaric DeArment

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Retail pharmacy chain Rite Aid is promoting healthy skin care as part of a partnership with the Skin Cancer Foundation, the retailer said Wednesday.

The new campaign offers free skin care guides in stores and online, expert advice from pharmacists and continued support for the fifth annual Road to Healthy Skin Tour, also offered under a collaboration with the foundation. The tour, launched in March, is visiting more than 50 Rite Aid stores around the country and offering free, full-body skin cancer screenings.

The campaign, which runs through July 31, is emphasizing good skin care to ward off skin cancer. The company said skin care was especially important for people taking prescription drugs that might heighten sensitivity to sun, as well as patients who might be at risk for chronically dry skin, such as those with diabetes.

"As trusted and accessible healthcare providers on the front lines of community health care, our pharmacists are able to help customers make informed choices on a wide range of health topics including choosing the sunscreen that best suits their needs," Rite Aid EVP pharmacy Robert Thompson said. "We hope our customers will take full advantage of these free resources, which can help guide smart skin-care choices for years to come."

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