Ulta Beauty Shines In Q1

Ulta Beauty has reported another strong quarter, with the beauty retailer reaching sales over $1 billion along with a big rise in comps and net income.

In the first quarter ended April 30, net sales increased 23.7% to $1.07 billion from $868.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. Comparable sales increased 15.2% compared to an increase of 11.4% in the previous first quarter. The 15.2% same store sales increase was driven by 11% growth in traffic and 4.2% growth in average ticket. E-commerce sales grew 38.8% to $61 million from $44 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, representing 130 basis points of the total company comparable sales increase.

Net income increased 37.4% to $92 million compared to $66.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2015. Income per diluted share increased 39.4% to $1.45 compared to $1.04 in the previous first quarter.

Ulta also reported an increase in inventory that was driven by 89 net new stores, and the opening of the company’s fourth distribution center in Greenwood, Indiana. The investments in inventory are to ensure high in-stock levels to support sales growth, and incremental inventory for new brands and in-store prestige brand boutiques, the company said.

“We are off to a phenomenal start to the year, delivering excellent top and bottom line growth in the first quarter,” said Mary Dillon, Ulta CEO. “Several positive factors are coming together to drive the momentum in our business, exemplified by the best comparable sales growth in our history as a public company. These include healthy consumer demand in the beauty category, our unique format and offering which are supporting sustained share gains, and effective collaboration across the enterprise to ensure strong execution of our growth strategies.”

During the first quarter, Ulta opened 13 stores and closed one store. The company operates 886 stores in 48 states and said it plans to open 100 new stores in the fiscal year.