Ulta Beauty Whiffs Big in Q3

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When Ulta Beauty Inc. (NASDAQ: ULTA) reported its third-quarter financial results after the markets closed on Thursday, the company said that it had $2.18 in earnings per share (EPS) and $1.56 billion in revenue. That compared with consensus estimates of $2.16 in EPS and $2.11 billion in revenue, as well as the $1.70 per share and $1.34 billion posted in the same period of last year.

During the most recent quarter, the comparable sales increased 7.8%, compared to an increase of 10.3% in the third quarter of fiscal 2017. The 7.8% comparable sales increase was driven by 5.3% transaction growth and 2.5% growth in average ticket.

Retail comparable sales increased 4.4%, including salon comparable sales growth of 3.5%. Separately, e-commerce sales increased 42.5% to $170.7 million compared to $119.8 million last year.

Looking ahead to the fiscal fourth quarter, the company expects to see EPS in the range of $3.50 to $3.55 and net sales of between $2.085 billion and $2.103 billion. Consensus estimates call for $3.62 in EPS and $2.12 billion in revenue for the quarter.

The company repurchased 451,424 shares of common stock in the third quarter. Going forward, Ulta has $282.8 million remaining available under its $625.0 million share repurchase program.

CEO Mary Dillon commented:

Ulta Beauty’s strong performance in the third quarter reflects continued market share gains across all major categories, acceleration in our overall comp driven by healthy traffic, excellent new store productivity, and robust e-commerce growth.

Shares of Ulta closed Thursday at $292.92, in a 52-week range of $191.70 to $322.49. The consensus analyst price target is $319.29. Following the announcement, the stock was up 6% at $274.50 in early trading indications Friday.