Ulta Beauty updates outlook, strategic plan

Ulta Beauty's shares jumped on Thursday after it announced a 7.8 percent increase in comparable sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2018, prompting the cosmetics chain to update its full year guidance. 

Ulta Beauty updates outlook and strategic plan. - Facebook: Ulta Beauty
 
The specialty beauty retailer said e-commerce sales lead overall growth with a 42.2 percent jump, while retail comparable sales grew 4.4 percent, including salon comparable sales growth of 3.3 percent. 

More exciting however, was the company’s update on its long-term strategy, which included goals like driving growth across beauty enthusiast segments and leading the in-store and beauty services experience, among other things. 
 
“We see exciting possibilities ahead to continue to increase market share, profitability and long-term shareholder value through our renewed strategic plan. This plan reflects deep guest and category insights that have led to robust innovation around guest experience, new capabilities in personalization and digital experiences, and laser focus on operational efficiencies,” said Mary Dillon, Chief Executive Officer, in a news statement.
 
Among those plans, the company is continuing to invest heavily in digital announcing its investment in digital workflow partner Iterate and online booking tool partner Spruce. 
 
Ulta also shared that it has acquired QM Scientific and GlamST, which are technology startups in artificial intelligence and augmented reality. Together, they will support the company’s personalization initiatives and accelerate its digital innovation capabilities. 
 
Meanwhile, the firm announced plans to open 80 stores in 2019, 75 stores in 2020 and 70 stores in 2021, to reach its new US store target of 1,500 to 1,700 stores.
 
On the product side, Kylie Cosmetics will hit Ulta shelves on November 17, 2018, which the retailer is positive will be a hit. It’s the first time the collection will ever be permanently available in physical stores.
 
The Sephora rival raised its 2018 guidance and now expects to achieve comparable sales growth of approximately 7 to 8 percent, compared to previous guidance of 6 to 8 percent.
 
Ulta Beauty operates 1,163 retail stores across 50 states and also distributes its products through its website.

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