First-quarter performance

Ulta Beauty (ULTA) announced mixed results for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 after the markets closed yesterday. The quarter ended on May 4. The company beat analysts’ earnings expectations but lagged behind sales estimates. Ulta Beauty stock was down 0.3% as of 2:10 PM ET today.

Ulta’s first-quarter sales grew 12.9% on a year-over-year basis to $1.74 billion, driven by higher same-store sales and new store productivity. The company’s top line fell behind analysts’ sales expectation of $1.75 billion. Same-store sales grew 7% in Q1 of fiscal 2019, compared 8.1% in Q1 of fiscal 2018.

The company reported strong growth in the mass cosmetics, skincare, and fragrance businesses. However, it continued to experience softness in many large established prestige cosmetic brands.

Ulta Beauty Delivers Mixed Results for the First Quarter

e-Commerce sales growth was in line with the company’s forecast of 20%–30% growth.

Ulta Beauty opened 22 new stores in the first quarter and is on track to open 80 new stores in fiscal 2019. It also plans to remodel 12 stores, relocate eight stores, and refresh 270 stores this fiscal year.

The company’s first-quarter adjusted EPS grew 20.7% to $3.26, beating analysts’ estimate of $3.07. Ulta’s bottom line gained from higher sales and lower pre-opening expenses.

Outlook

Ulta Beauty kept its sales guidance intact but raised its earnings forecast for fiscal 2019. The company continues to expect sales growth in low double digits and same-store sales growth in the range of 6%–7%. e-Commerce sales growth is expected in the 20%–30% range.

Ulta Beauty now expects its fiscal 2019 EPS in the range of $12.83–$13.03, compared to its previous outlook of $12.65–$12.85. The company expects its EPS growth to improve in the second half of fiscal 2019.

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