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Ulta Beauty Sales Rise on Increased Shopping

Ulta's sales and income rose substantially in the quarter.

Beauty fans are shopping again, and Ulta Beauty is seeing the benefits.

The beauty retailer saw a net sales increase of 28.6 percent for the quarter ended Oct. 30, to nearly $2 billion in sales, up from $1.55 billion in the prior-year period. Ulta’s net income increased to $215.3 million, from $74.8 million a year ago.

Ulta’s chief executive officer Dave Kimbell said that the company grew “all major categories” in the quarter by double digits, including fragrance, hair care and skin care. That uptick was driven by product newness and promotional events, including 21 Days of Beauty, he said.

Makeup sales are still down below 2019 levels, Kimbell said, but mass makeup is selling well and high-end makeup showed signs of improvement. 

“We navigated global supply chain challenges and tight labor markets and remained well-positioned to meet guests’ needs and deliver a successful holiday season. This performance reflects the strength and resiliency of the beauty category, the power of Ulta Beauty’s differentiated model and the impact of our winning culture and outstanding team,” Kimbell said.

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“Engagement with the category remains high with consumers looking to refresh their beauty stash with new products,” Kimbell said. “Recent trends give us confidence the makeup category will return to growth compared to pre-pandemic levels.”

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He said the eyes, face and lip categories are delivering growth. Consumers are engaging with both false lashes and lash-growth serums, as well as eye shadow sticks, tinted moisturizer and blush, lip color, lip gloss and lip balm, he said.

“Newness continues to excite and engage guests,” Kimbell said, ticking off Bobbi Brown and Elaluz as new brands, and launches from ColourPop, Urban Decay, Tarte and Nyx as successes. Ulta has also recently expanded MAC into 200 more stores. 

In skin care, Drunk Elephant, Fresh, Good Molecules, Peach Slices, Tula, Clinique and The Ordinary drove sales. Bath and body products continue to sell well, Kimbell noted, and in fragrance, designer fragrances as well as Ariana Grande’s God Is a Woman did well.

Ulta also saw 13 percent growth in its loyalty program, to nearly 36 million members.

For the nine-month period, Ulta’s net sales increased 49.3 percent over the prior year, when retail lockdowns took place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sales for the nine months ended Oct. 30 were $5.9 billion, up from $4 billion a year ago. Net income was $696.5 million, compared to $4.3 million in 2020.

Ulta has increased its outlook for the fiscal year, and is now projecting between $8.5 billion and $8.6 billion in sales, up from $8.1 billion to $8.3 billion it previously estimated.

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