Ulta Beauty (ULTA) Up in After-Hours Trading Following with Strong Q1 Earnings Report

Eileen Meng Lu  |

Ulta Salon Cosmetics& Fragrance (ULTA) is up in after hour trading after the company announced a 19 percent year-over-year increase in earnings for its Q1 fiscal 2014. Shares crossed the $90 level in after-hours trading, gaining over 10 percent and likely predicting a gap-up with the opening bell Wednesday morning.

According to the fiscal Q1 report, the Bolingbrook, IL-based cosmetics retailer's net income is up 19.4 percent to about $50 million, as compared to $41.8 million for the year-ago period. The company had an EPS of $0.77 on $713.8 million in revenue, a 22.5 percent increase in net sales from 65 cents on $582.7 million in revenue for the same period in 2013. It also beat the average expectations of analysts from a Thomson Reuters poll by $0.03.

Comparable store sales increased 8.7% compared to a 6.7% growth for 2013 first quarter. 8.7% of the 2014 Q1 total sales go to E-commerce comparable sales, which had 72.3% growth compared to year-ago period. 

Gross profit dropped slightly from 2013 first quarter's 35% to 34.5% in the year-earlier period. The company said this was mainly driven by the extra costs of channel mix shifts, which converts loyalty program members to the ULTAmate Rewards program, as well as its increased expense resulted from store expansion with 21 new stores opening in the first quarter.

"The team’s accomplishments included improving retail transactions which turned positive, driving continued momentum in our online business, successfully rolling out new brands, completing a smooth conversion of our loyalty program members onto one platform, and managing inventory very well,” said CEO Mary Dillion.

The company also had a rosier outlook for Q2, with EPS guidance of $0.78-$0.83 on $706-717 million revenue. Analysts expect $0.82 per share on $703.20 million revenue. In the big picture, it has an EPS growth rate of 17.50% for this year and 48.90% in EPS growth for the past 5 years

Ulta Beauty’s stock seems to have started to recover since its stock price plunged 20 percent after the company posted lower-than-expected numbers for Q3 fiscal 2013. The fiscal 2014 Q1 result might be a quick shot of the company’s long-term growth strategy.

Ulta Beauty is the largest beauty retailer in the U.S. that offers on-stop shopping for beauty products and services. It carries a variety of beauty brands, provides over 20,000 prestige and mass products and services covering categories of cosmetics, fragrance, haircare, styling tools, skincare, bath and body. It has $5.49 billion market capitalization and 696 retail stores in 46 states across the country.

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