Categories Earnings, Retail

Ulta Beauty stock drops on weak quarterly outlook

Ulta Beauty (ULTA) reported a jump in earnings for the first quarter helped by strong retail comparable store sales, new store productivity and continued e-commerce strength. Earnings and revenue exceeded market expectations. However, the cosmetics retailer’s stock fell 3.09% in the after-hours trading as its second-quarter guidance missed Street’s view.

With revenue jumping 17.4% to $1.54 billion, earnings grew 28.2% to $164.4 million or $2.70 per share. Comparable store sales, including stores and e-commerce, increased 14.3%, driven by favorable traffic and ticket as well as store growth and a stupendous e-commerce improvement.

Revenue benefited from robust comparable sales growth and e-commerce sales. During the quarter, the company registered transaction growth of 5.1% while average ticket was up 3%. E-commerce sales climbed 48%, representing 340 basis points of the total company comparable sales increase of 8.1%. Retail comparable sales rose 4.7%, including salon comparable sales growth of 3.2%.

Looking ahead into the second quarter, the company expects net sales of $1.475-$1.488 billion and EPS of $2.35-$2.40. Comparable sales for the second quarter, including e-commerce sales, are expected to rise 6-7%, much lower than last year’s comps growth of 11.7%.

For fiscal 2018, Ulta Beauty still expects total sales growth in the low teens’ percentage range and comparable sales growth of about 6-8%. GAAP EPS growth is now expected to be in the low twenties percentage range compared to previous guidance of about 20%. The company plans to open about 100 new stores and execute 15 remodel or relocation projects.

Ulta Beauty first quarter 2018 earnings
Ulta Beauty Q1 2018 Earnings Infographic

“This performance reflects our highly differentiated business model that continues to drive healthy retail comparable store sales, excellent new store productivity, and the continued strength of our e-commerce business,” executive chief Mary Dillon said.

During the first quarter, Ulta Beauty opened 34 stores and closed one store. The company ended the first quarter with 1,107 stores and square footage of 11,645,795, representing an 11.6% increase in square footage compared to last year.

Last quarter, the company had expected a year-over-year improvement in the top line and bottom line, owing to continued market share gains and strategic initiatives benefits. Ulta had also anticipated using part of the tax reform gains to invest in people, product innovations as well as other strategies to boost growth.

Shares of Ulta Beauty ended Thursday’s regular trading session down 2.59% at $246.91 on the Nasdaq. The stock had been trading between $187.96 and $314.86 for the past 52 weeks.

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