Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA) lifted its third quarter sales and profit guidance this morning, sending its shares higher in early trading.
The Bolingbrook, IL-based company forecast Q3 EPS of $1.35 to $1.38, up from a prior outlook of $1.25 to $1.30. On average, Wall Street analysts are looking for $1.30 per share for the quarter.
ULTA also lifted its comparable sales outlook for Q3. The company now expects third quarter comps, including e-commerce sales, rise 14% to 15% from last year, up from a previous forecast for an 11% to 13% gain. For the full year, ULTA now sees comps up 12% to 14%, including the impact of its e-commerce business, compared with prior guidance of 11% to 13%.
Comparable sales, also known as same-store sales, are an important measure of a retailer’s health, since they track only sales at stores open at least one year. This provides a fair basis for year-over-year growth.
Finally, the company also reaffirmed its previously-announced expectation to deliver approximately 200 basis points of operating margin expansion from 2016 levels. ULTA remains on track to hit its mid-teens operating margin goal by the end of fiscal 2019.
From the press release:
“We look forward to sharing with the investment community our latest thinking on our strategic plan and opportunities to double our market share,” said Mary Dillon, Chief Executive Officer. “We are confident that executing against our strategic imperatives will continue to drive excellent financial results and create sustainable, long term shareholder value.”
The company released its raised forecast prior to its Investor and Analyst Conference, which will be hosted later today in Chicago.
ULTA shares rose $7.53 (+3.15%) to $246.50 in premarket trading Thursday. Year-to-date, ULTA has surged 29.17%, versus a 4.83% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 during the same period.