Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (NASDAQ:ULTA) late Thursday posted better than expected third quarter results and offered an upbeat forecast for the holiday quarter.
The Bolingbrook, IL-based company reported Q3 EPS of $1.40, which was 3 cents better than the $1.37 that analysts had expected. Revenues rose 24.3% from last year to $1.13 billion, also beating estimates for $1.11 billion.
Comparable sales surged 16.7% from last year, beating guidance for 14-15% and up from a 12.8% growth rate in the third quarter of 2015. That growth was driven by an 11.1% gain in transaction volume and a 5.6% higher average ticket size. Comparable sales, also known as “comps,” are an important measure of a retailer’s health, since they gauge year-over-year revenue growth of stores open at least 12 months.
Looking ahead, ULTA forecast Q4 EPS to range from $2.08 to $2.13, which would exceed the $2.06 that analysts are looking for. Q4 revenue guidance ranged from $1.516 to $1.541 billion, which also could beat Wall Street’s $1.51 billion view.
Ulta also said it expects Q4 comps, including e-commerce, to rise 12% to 14%.
The company commented via press release:
“Ulta Beauty’s top line accelerated in the third quarter, driving record sales and earnings performance,” said Mary Dillon, Chief Executive Officer. “Our associates continue to execute against our growth strategies, resulting in success across several areas: new brand acquisition, increased Ulta Beauty brand awareness, rapid growth in our loyalty program, improving supply chain performance, and robust e-commerce growth.”
Ulta shares rose $13.09 (+5.09%) to $270.50 in after-hours trading Thursday. Prior to today’s report, ULTA had surged 39.35% year-to-date, which is nearly five times the return of the benchmark S&P 500 during the same period.