Ulta: A beauty standout
Ulta is on a hot streak. Its one-stop strategy of selling different kinds of beauty products and offering salon services under one roof has won over customers.
The beauty retailer has more than tripled its number of stores to about 900 and more than quadrupled annual sales to $3.9 billion since early 2008, even amid competition from drugstores, discounters and online leader Amazon.com.
And under CEO Mary Dillon, who assumed the helm in 2013, Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance aims to keep the momentum going. Company executives hope to expand to more than 1,200 stores, while strengthening its e-commerce operations. But the company wants to compete beyond price. It’s improving its product presentation while offering more targeted coupon offers and extra perks for its loyalty members. In the latest quarter, total sales increased nearly 22 percent and profits rose 8.4 percent. The company’s shares are up 29 percent so far this year and are hovering near $238. Analysts have a “buy” rating on the stock, according to FactSet. “Ulta’s unique shopping format is a differentiated crowd pleaser which keeps loyal customers coming back,” writes Cowen & Co.’s Oliver Chen.