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What’s Expected for Ulta Beauty’s First-Quarter Sales Growth

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May. 29 2019, Published 10:38 a.m. ET

Sales trends

Ulta Beauty (ULTA) is scheduled to release its results for the first quarter of fiscal 2019[1.ended May 4] after markets close on May 30. Analysts expect the beauty retailer’s sales to grow by a double-digit percentage in the first quarter.

Ulta Beauty’s sales grew 14.1% to $6.72 billion in fiscal 2018, which ended on February 2. Excluding the impact of an additional week in fiscal 2017, Ulta Beauty’s fiscal 2018 sales increased by 16.3%. The company’s same-store sales grew 8.1% in fiscal 2018. Although Ulta Beauty delivered double-digit percentage sales growth amid tough market conditions in fiscal 2018, the company’s sales growth has been decelerating. Its sales grew 23.7% and 21.2% in fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2017, respectively.

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Ulta Beauty exceeded analysts’ sales expectations in two quarters of fiscal 2018. The beauty retailer’s sales grew 9.7% to $2.12 billion in the fourth quarter, exceeding analysts’ sales expectation of $2.11 billion. The company’s sales were driven by improved traffic, strength in mass cosmetics, boutique brands, skincare, and fragrances, and stability in prestige cosmetics.

First-quarter expectations

Analysts expect Ulta Beauty’s sales to rise 13.1% to $1.75 billion in the first quarter of fiscal 2019. Its strong loyalty program, e-commerce sales, and enhanced merchandise assortment are expected to drive top-line growth. New stores are also expected to boost the company’s sales. Ulta Beauty opened 107 new stores in fiscal 2018 and plans to open about 80 stores in fiscal 2019.

Analysts expect Ulta Beauty’s sales to grow 12.3% to $7.54 billion in fiscal 2019. In March, Ulta Beauty guided for low-double-digit sales growth and same-store sales growth of 6%–7% in fiscal 2019. Ulta Beauty expects its e-commerce sales to grow 20%–30% during the year.

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