Stock Update (NASDAQ:ULTA): Here’s Why Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. Shares Are Soaring Today

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA) investors cheer the news that the cosmetics company has raised its financial guidance for the third quarter and full year 2016 ahead of its analyst and investor conference today in Chicago, Illinois.

Ulta Salon shares reacted to the news, rising nearly 6% to $252.57 in early trading Thursday.

“We look forward to sharing with the investment community our latest thinking on our strategic plan and opportunities to double our market share,” said Mary Dillon, Chief Executive Officer. “We are confident that executing against our strategic imperatives will continue to drive excellent financial results and create sustainable, long term shareholder value.”


For the third quarter of fiscal 2016, the Company now expects comparable sales, including e-commerce sales, to increase 14% to 15%, compared to previous guidance of 11% to 13%. The Company reported a comparable sales increase of 12.8% in the third quarter of fiscal 2015.

Income per diluted share for the third quarter of fiscal 2016 is estimated to be in the range of $1.35 to $1.38, compared to prior guidance of $1.25 to $1.30. The Company reported income per diluted share for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 of $1.11.

As a result of the better than expected performance in the third quarter to date, the Company is also raising its previously announced fiscal 2016 guidance. For the full year, the Company plans to achieve comparable sales growth of approximately 12% to 14%, including the impact of the e-commerce business, compared to previous guidance of 11% to 13%. The Company expects to deliver earnings per share growth in the mid-twenties percentage range, compared to previous guidance of low to mid-twenties percentage range, including the impact of the new Dallas distribution center, the rollout of prestige brand boutiques, the accelerated share repurchase program, and continued open market share repurchases.

The Company is also confirming its outlook for the business to deliver earnings per share growth in the low twenties percentage range for fiscal 2017, 2018 and 2019, despite growing from a much larger base compared to initial expectations when the strategic plan was communicated in 2014. The Company is raising its view of long term comparable sales growth and now expects to drive strong 7% to 9% comparable sales growth for this period from 2017 to 2019, compared to previous guidance of 5% to 7% long term comparable growth.

The Company reaffirms its expectation to deliver approximately 200 basis points of operating margin expansion from 2016 levels, to reach its mid-teens operating margin target by the end of fiscal 2019.

Conference Highlights:

The Company will discuss its plans to double its market share over the next several years through new store expansion, e-commerce growing to become a billion dollar business, higher store productivity, and gaining greater share of wallet.

Highlights of the presentations will include:

  • Details on the company’s updated consumer segmentation study, revealing a larger opportunity to target beauty enthusiasts who represent 77% of spending in the beauty products market.
  • Insights about how the Ultamate Rewards loyalty program, currently representing more than 90% of company sales, can grow share of wallet of existing members from a one third share today, reflecting significant market share opportunity.
  • Discussion of exciting recent brand launches including Origins, Dior, Estee Lauder, proactiv, and Shiseido in the skincare and cosmetics categories; Stash SJP fragrance; Honest Beauty haircare products; and Dyson hair dryers.
  • Unveiling of an updated real estate analysis that validates incremental new store potential in the U.S. and highlights key expansion opportunities, leading to a raised outlook for store expansion to a range of 1,400 to 1,700 in the U.S.
  • Updated views on the new store model including the cost to build a store and the sales ramp to maturity, reflecting higher new store productivity and higher sales per store of mature stores as a result of a stronger product portfolio, and higher brand awareness. (Original Source)

On the ratings front, Ulta Salon Cosmetics has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on October 11, Baird analyst Mark Altschwager reiterated a Buy rating on ULTA, with a price target of $305, which represents a potential upside of 28% from where the stock is currently trading. Separately, on October 10, Stifel Nicolaus’ Mark Astrachan reiterated a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $277.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Mark Altschwager and Mark Astrachan have a total average return of 1.6% and -0.2% respectively. Altschwager has a success rate of 44% and is ranked #1991 out of 4182 analysts, while Astrachan has a success rate of 60% and is ranked #2844.

Overall, 5 research analysts have assigned a Hold rating and 5 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $293.33 which is 22.7% above where the stock closed yesterday.

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. operates as a beauty retailer in U.S. The company, through its stores, offers beauty products across the categories of cosmetics, fragrance, hair-care, skincare, bath and body products and salon styling tools, as well as salon hair care products. It also offers a full-service salon in all of its stores. 


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