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Ulta Beauty posts ‘strong’ Q2, shares strategic plan update

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Ulta Beauty reported a 22.2% boost in second-quarter new sales and drove its best comps since the secondquarter 2012 thanks in large part to successful new products and brands as well as growth in e-commerce. Meanwhile, the beauty retailer continues to forge ahead on its new strategic plan.

“We set out several months ago to refresh our strategic plan. This process was led by me and my full senior team. We formed a fact-based, guest-centric and total enterprise view of the guest experience that we want to deliver in the future, and determined what is required to do so,” Mary Dillon, who joined Ulta Beauty as CEO in July 2013, told analysts during Thursday’s conference call to discuss quarterly results.

This led the company to identify key areas of focus and investment and to create a five-year financial model, which includes same-store sales growth in the 5% to 7% range and the opening of about 100 stores per year, to support the framework.

“Supporting this vision, we articulated six strategic imperatives that we believe will drive sustainable growth for Ulta. One, acquire new guests and deepen loyalty with existing guests. Two, differentiate by delivering a distinctive and personalized guest experience across all channels. Three, offer a relevant, innovative and often exclusive products that excite our guests. Four, deliver exceptional services in three core areas: hair, skin health and brows. Five, grow stores in e-commerce to reach and serve more guests. And six, invest in infrastructure to support our guest experience and growth and capture scale efficiency.”

As it relates to e-commerce, the company expects e-commerce to grow to represent about 10% of sales. The model is expected to deliver earnings per share growth in the low 20% range over the next five years, excluding the impact of the supply chain investment.

In July, the company unveiled a revamped Web site designed to enhance the discovery and browse experience. It also added online booking capabilities for its salon appointments and started hosting live chats with vendor partners. The company also released in July its first iPad app.

“I believe our plan represents a strong set of strategic imperatives and initiatives and that our results will place Ulta in the top tier of high-performing retailers. We’ll continue to drive market share gains and deliver strong, sustainable sales and earnings growth, making our company a very attractive investment. I also know that we have the best associates in the industry who love what they do and are excited to bring more beauty into the lives of our guests,” Dillon told analysts.

Net sales for the quarter increased 22.2% to $734.2 million. Comparable store sales (sales for stores open at least 14 months and e-commerce sales) increased 9.6% compared with an increase of 8.4% in the year-ago period. The 9.6% same-store sales increase was driven by 5.8% growth in transactions and 3.8% growth in average ticket.

Net income increased 35.4% to $60.8 million compared with the year-ago period. Income per diluted share increased 34.3% to 94 cents compared with 70 cents in the second quarter of fiscal 2013.
 

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Research: Thiamine deficiency can cause a potentially fatal brain disorder

BY Michael Johnsen

MAYWOOD, Ill. — A deficiency of a single vitamin, B1 (thiamine), can cause a potentially fatal brain disorder called Wernicke encephalopathy, according to research released Thursday. 
 
Symptoms can include confusion, hallucinations, coma, loss of muscle coordination and such vision problems as double vision and involuntary eye movements. Untreated, the condition can lead to irreversible brain damage and death, according to neurologists at Loyola University Medical Center.
 
In the developed world, Wernicke encephalopathy typically occurs in people who have such disorders as alcoholism and anorexia that lead to malnourishment.
 
Wernicke encephalopathy is an example of the wide range of brain diseases, called encephalopathies, that are caused by metabolic disorders and toxic substances, according to a report by Loyola neurologists Matthew McCoyd, Sean Ruland and Jose Biller in the journal Scientific American Medicine.
 
“Toxic and metabolic encephalopathies may range in severity from the acute confusional state to frank coma,” McCoyd, Ruland and Biller write. “As permanent injury may occur, an organized approach is needed to make an accurate and rapid diagnosis.” The hallmark of toxic and metabolic encephalopathies is altered sensorium. This can range from mild attention impairment, such as difficulty spelling a word backwards, to coma.
Toxic encephalopathy can be caused by illegal drugs, environmental toxins and reactions to prescription drugs.
 
Thiamine deficiency is among the nutritional deficiencies that can cause brain diseases such as Wernicke encephalopathy. The condition likely is underdiagnosed. Although clinical studies find a rate of 0.1% or less, autopsy studies show a prevalence as high as 2.8%.
 
“Particularly in those who suffer from alcoholism or AIDS, the diagnosis is missed on clinical examination in 75% to 80% of cases,” the Loyola neurologists wrote.
 
Untreated, Wernicke encephalopathy can lead to Korsakoff syndrome, characterized by profound memory loss and inability to form memories — patients often can’t remember events within the past 30 minutes. Other KS symptoms can include apathy, anxiety and confabulation (fabricating imaginary experiences to compensate for memory loss).
 
About 80% of Wernicke encephalopathy patients develop KS, and once this occurs, only about 20% of patients recover.
 
Wernicke encephalopathy is a medical emergency that requires immediate thiamine treatment, either by injection or IV. “In the absence of treatment, deficiency can lead to irreversible brain damage and death with an estimated mortality of 20%,” the Loyola neurologists wrote.
 

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PhRMA names recipients of the 2014 Research and Hope Awards

BY Michael Johnsen

WASHINGTON — The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America on Thursday announced the recipients of the 2014 Research and Hope Awards, honoring researchers and patient advocates for their role in advancing biopharmaceutical research and improving patients’ access to care. This year’s awardees were recognized for their role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
 
PhRMA along with 22 patient and community health organizations honored the 2014 award winners at an annual awards dinner in Washington, which also featured a conversation with former President George W. Bush and a keynote address by Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
 
"I am grateful for the generosity of the American people and to those individuals and organizations who are leading the fight to combat HIV/AIDS," stated Bush, who spoke about his administration's efforts to combat HIV/AIDS around the world. "PEPFAR has stopped the AIDS pandemic from destroying the continent of Africa, and we must continue the momentum and build on its successes. The U.S. must lead this effort."
 
“Millions of patients are living longer, healthier lives thanks to the hard work and dedication of this year’s award winners,” stated Ian Read, PhRMA’s chairman of the board of cirectors and chairman and CEO of Pfizer. “These individuals are distinguished members of the scientific and advocacy communities whose contributions have transformed the lives of patients impacted by HIV/AIDS.”
 
Multiple medical advancements have taken place since 1981, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified the first five cases of HIV/AIDS. Since anti-retroviral treatments were approved in 1995, HIV/AIDS-related deaths in the United States have dropped by 83% , resulting in a 32% decline in HIV/AIDS-related hospitalizations. These medicines are improving overall care for patients and are helping to prevent costs associated with treating the disease. According to a University of Chicago study, HIV/AIDS patients today live 15 years longer than in the 1980s.
 
“The tremendous progress that has been made over the years in HIV/AIDS research and care would not have been possible without the contributions made by this year’s award winners and the other men and women who have dedicated their lives to this important cause,” said PhRMA president and CEO John Castellani. “These individuals give us hope that we will someday be able to find a cure for this deadly disease.”
 
A new report released by PhRMA found that there are currently 44 medicines and vaccines in the development pipeline, including 25 antivirals, 16 vaccines and three cell/gene therapies.
 
Recipients of the PhRMA 2014 Research & Hope Awards are:
 
  • The PhRMA Research & Hope Award for Academic Research went to Raymond Schinazi, Emory University. Schinazi was honored for his pioneering work that led to the development of drugs that are the backbone of combination regimens used in the treatment of HIV-1 infection;
  • The PhRMA Research & Hope Award for Biopharmaceutical Industry Research was awarded to Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Discovery Medicine, Virology Team. The Bristol-Myers Squibb Company Virology Team, led by Dennis Grasela, was recognized for its longstanding work to develop an innovative HIV-1 attachment inhibitor and bring forward a drug candidate that may allow the possibility of viral suppression for HIV patients. The full team includes George Hanna, John Kadow, Mark Krystal and Nick Meanwell;
  • The PhRMA Research & Hope Award for Excellence in Advocacy & Activism was awarded to Phill Wilson, founder and CEO Black AIDS Institute. Wilson received the award for his work in engaging and mobilizing black institutions and individuals in efforts to confront HIV;
  • The PhRMA Research & Hope Award for Community Champion was awarded to Kathie Hiers, CEO AIDS Alabama. Hiers was honored for her ongoing efforts in helping people with HIV/AIDS live healthy, independent lives; and
  • The PhRMA Research & Hope Award for Visibility & Progress Award was awarded to Hydeia Loren Broadbent, HIV/AIDS activist. Broadbent, a distinguished international public speaker and HIV/AIDS activist, was recognized for spreading the message of HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention since the age of six years.  

 

 

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