Categories Analysis, Consumer, Retail

Earnings preview: Ulta Beauty’s Q4 results to get an e-commerce push

Ulta Beauty (ULTA) will be reporting the financial results for its fourth quarter on Thursday after the closing bell, which will be followed by a session to discuss the management’s views on the quarterly performance.

It is widely expected that the Bolingbrook, Illinois-based beauty retailer will record a 30% growth in earnings to $3.56 per share, supported by the strong uptick in transaction growth and store productivity. Sales are seen gaining 8.8% annually to $2.11 billion in the fourth quarter, which is far above the company’s own outlook.

The impressive performance in the recent quarters shows that the management’s aggressive efforts to develop the online platform are yielding the desired results, which is ultimately being translated into market share growth. There has been a corresponding increase in the store count.

The impressive performance in the recent quarters shows the efforts to develop the online platform are yielding results

Once again, the revamped loyalty program and improved merchandise mix will add to the top-line growth in the fourth quarter. The company’s projection for full-year e-commerce growth is 40%, which includes contributions from the newly opened distribution center at Fresno in California.

Also see: Ulta Beauty Q3 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Meanwhile, the market will be closely watching as to what extent the positive factors would help in offsetting the continuing strain on margins, caused mainly by higher selling, general and administrative expenses.

Meanwhile, buoyed by the sustained improvement in operations, the company recently announced its plan to open 100 stores and relocate 15 others this year.

Ulta Beauty reported a 34% surge in earnings to $2.46 per share for the second quarter when sales moved up 15% to nearly $1.5 billion, aided by a marked rise in e-commerce sales. The upturn was driven by solid comparable store sales, especially for the prestige boutique brands, mass cosmetics, skincare, and fragrance.

Related: JD.com’s stock jumps 11% on Q4 revenue beat

After dropping to a six-month low in December last year, Ulta Beauty shares bounced back and maintained a steady uptrend. The stock, which currently trades near its recent peak, rose 25% so far this year and 40% in the past twelve months.

 

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