Ulta Beauty Q3 Results Not Good Enough?

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When Ulta Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) released its most recent quarterly results late on Thursday, the company posted $1.70 in earnings per share (EPS) on $1.34 billion in revenue. Consensus estimates had called for $1.67 in EPS and revenue of $1.34 billion, and the fiscal third-quarter of last year reportedly had EPS of $1.40 and $1.31 billion in revenue.

During the most recent quarter, comparable sales increased 10.3%, versus an increase of 16.7% in the same period last year. The comparable sales increase was driven by 6.0% transaction growth and 4.3% growth in average ticket. Ulta estimates that hurricanes Harvey and Irma resulted in approximately 100 basis points of negative impact to comparable stores sales.

Salon sales increased 10.8% to $66.9 million from $60.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2016. Separately, e-commerce sales grew 62.9% to $119.8 million from $73.6 million last year.

In terms of the outlook for the fiscal fourth quarter, Ulta expects to see EPS in the range of $2.73 to $2.78 and net sales between $1.926 billion and $1.959 billion. The consensus estimates are $2.84 in EPS and $1.93 billion in revenue.

On the books, Ulta’s cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments totaled $106.8 million at the end of the quarter, down from $243.1 million at the end of the same period last year.

Mary Dillon, CEO, commented:

Our third quarter results clearly demonstrate the strength and distinct advantages of the Ulta Beauty business model. We delivered double digit comparable sales growth, in spite of a moderation in the growth rate of our largest category – makeup – and meaningful disruption from hurricanes. We flexed our merchandising and marketing plans, leveraged our consumer insights and CRM platform, and worked with our brand partners to create compelling offers for our guests. We also benefitted from the unmatched breadth of beauty categories and products we offer. These levers allowed us to drive significant share gains, continue to rapidly grow our base of loyalty members, and thrive amidst shifting category trends within the beauty industry.

Shares of Ulta were down about 5% at $210.74 early Friday, with a consensus analyst price target of $261.50 and a 52-week range of $187.96 to $314.86.