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Ulta Beauty Slows New Store Openings Due to Coronavirus

Instead of opening 75 stores this fiscal year, Ulta Beauty plans to open 30.

Ulta Beauty has shifted its retail store strategy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As of mid-March, the beauty retailer planned to open 75 more stores in fiscal 2020, but now will only open 30, the company said in a statement. Ulta also said it would permanently close 19 locations, and that entry into Canada will be put on hold until mid-2021. The Canadian stores would be Ulta’s first international move.

“We anticipate COVID-19 will influence longer-term market shifts and create new real estate opportunities, supporting our ambition to ultimately operate between 1,500 and 1,700 Ulta Beauty stores in the U.S.,” Dillon said. “To do so, we are proactively optimizing our real estate portfolio and have made strategic decisions to temporarily reduce new store openings and close a limited number of stores this year. Overall, our real estate portfolio generates healthy returns, and this limited and targeted approach to closing stores will position Ulta Beauty for even strong financial performance in the future.”

Ulta also said it has completed its phased reopening plans in the U.S., and that masks are now mandatory for guests and employees in stores.

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“As different parts of the country manage rising COVID-19 cases, the company will maintain its close monitoring of government and health guidance as well as local case prevalence to inform nimble actions where necessary,” Ulta said in a statement.

With store reopenings, Ulta has brought back about 50 percent of employees who were furloughed in April, the company said.

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