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Ulta Still in Expansion Mode

During the company’s first quarter, the purveyor of salon, mass and prestige beauty products opened 28 stores across the U.S., helping to push up total sales.

Ulta Beauty continued to open its doors in more places.

During the company’s first quarter, the purveyor of salon, mass and prestige beauty products opened 28 stores across the U.S., helping to push up total sales.

 

For the three months ended May 4, net sales surged 22.9 percent to $582.7 million, from $474.1 million. Comparable-store sales slowed down compared with the prior-year period, gaining 6.7 percent (including the impact of e-commerce sales) compared with an increase of 10.1 percent in the year-ago quarter.

The company’s net income  gained 20 percent to $41.8 million, or 65 cents a diluted share, compared with $34.9 million, or 54 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Dennis Eck, the company’s interim chief executive officer, said the firm is on pace to open 125 doors this year. Ulta also is charging ahead with its goal to add more department store brands, such as Clinique and Lancôme, to the assortment.

“We opened Clinique boutiques in eight more stores, ending the quarter with 51 stores offering Clinique products, with further expansion planned for the rest of the year,” state Eck. “We are delighted to announce the addition of 25 Lancôme boutiques planned for the fall of 2013, and expect to end the year with a significant percentage of our stores featuring one of these iconic brand boutiques.”

He added that ulta.com’s sales soared 70 percent in the quarter, and that the company will launch a redesigned e-commerce site this fall.

Eck stepped into the interim ceo role when his predecessor Chuck Rubin left the company in February to assume the top spot at arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels Stores Inc.

The company is searching for a permanent replacement.