BEAUTY CARE

E-commerce sales growth of 49.8% helps fuel Ulta’s Q1

BY Antoinette Alexander

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Ulta Beauty enjoyed double-digit gains in same-store sales during the first quarter, marking the retailer’s best comparable sales growth since 2011, according to CEO Mary Dillon.

Same-store sales for the period ended May 3 increased 11.4%, driven by 7.2% growth in transactions and 4.2% growth in average ticket. E-commerce sales grew 49.8% to $44 million from $29.4 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014, representing 170 basis points of the total company comparable store sales increase of 11.4%.

“The Ulta Beauty team delivered an excellent start to 2015, with better than expected sales and earnings growth in the first quarter,” stated Dillon. “We achieved our best comparable sales growth since 2011, driven by strong traffic growth in both retail and e-commerce, market share gains across all categories, and continued successful execution of our marketing strategies. We also drove significant operating margin expansion, with a healthy balance of product margin improvement and marketing and payroll expense leverage.”

Retail comparable sales increased 9.7%, including salon comparable sales growth of 10.3%.

For the quarter, net sales increased 21.6% to $868.1 million from $713.8 million in the year-ago period.

Net income increased 34% to $66.9 million compared with $50 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Income per diluted share increased 35.1% to $1.04 compared with 77 cents in the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2015, the company currently expects net sales in the range of $854 million to $868 million, compared with actual net sales of $734.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014. Comparable sales for the second quarter of 2015, including e-commerce sales, are expected to increase 7% to 9%. The company reported a comparable sales increase of 9.6% in the second quarter of 2014.
 
Income per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2015 is estimated to be in the range of $1.07 to $1.12. This compares with income per diluted share for the second quarter of fiscal 2014 of 94 cents.
 
The company is updating its previously announced fiscal 2015 guidance. The company plans to:

  • achieve comparable sales growth of approximately 7% to 9%, including the impact of the e-commerce business, compared to previous guidance of 6% to 8%;
  • increase total sales in the mid to high teens percentage range;
  • grow e-commerce sales in the 40% range;
  • expand square footage by approximately 13% with the opening of 100 net new stores;
  • remodel four locations;
  • deliver earnings per share growth at the high end of its previous guidance of 15% to 17%, including planned supply chain and system investments, excluding the $0.02 non-recurring tax benefit in Q4 of 2014, and assuming continued share repurchases to offset dilution; and
  • incur capital expenditures in the $300 million range in fiscal 2015, compared to $249 million in fiscal 2014.

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HDMA session to explore data-driven front-end success for independents

BY Michael Johnsen

WAUKESHA, Wis. – Dave Wendland, VP Hamacher Resource Group, will participate on the panel, “Exploring Independent Pharmacy Data,” on June 8 at the Healthcare Distribution Management Association’s annual Business Leadership Conference. The session is part of the Front-End Forum.
 
Along with fellow industry panelists Bob Candelora, managing partner, Retail Insights and Kristin Gorski, director new business development for The Nielsen Company, and moderator Naomi Duvall, director consumer health at Cardinal Health, Wendland will weigh in on what data may be missing that could help better understand the opportunities at independent pharmacy. In addition, panelists will consider whether there is data available that could enhance the decision-making for the pharmacy shelf and front-of-store.
 
The panel will refer to the most recent research efforts HRG completed for HDMA including "Pharmacist and Patient Conversations at Independent Pharmacy: Recommending and Guiding Non-prescription Product Choices," released in February of this year, and the 2013 report, "Independent Pharmacy Shoppers: Who, What, and Why?".
 
“Although we’ve learned much more about independent pharmacy through these studies, I think there remains additional opportunity to gather new insights and put them into action," Wendland said. "This panel discussion will explore ideas for sources of other potential data that could fill in more of the picture of the uniqueness of this channel.”
 
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New Mack Elevation weekly blog helps thought-leaders cut through the clutter

BY Michael Johnsen

CHICAGO — Mack Elevation Forum on Wednesday announced the launch of "Ideas That Matter," a weekly digital commentary on strategy, customer alignment, leadership and business development for leaders looking for an edge. The digital brief offers succinct strategy and growth ideas for any leader looking to move their organization to a new level.
 
“The challenge in businesses is to create value that sets you apart from the field. The reality is that many companies play ‘follow the leader’ suffering from the disease of sameness," stated Dan Mack, managing director and founder of the Mack Elevation Forum. "Our vision is to help uncover and eliminate hidden blind spots, developing new growth initiatives that matter,” he said. “Our clients want to go deeper and 'Ideas That Matter' will assist them in their journey.”
 
The "Ideas That Matter" brief will be launched along with the redesigned Mack Elevation Forum website, which will highlight some of the best strategy, leadership and sales content and will feature two new Mack Elevation Products.  The products include “5 Years of Definitive Elevation Forum Insights” and the “View from the Top Bench Mark Study” which helps small or mid-size companies improve their internal financial metrics, trade promotion and customer investments.
 
The Elevation Forum is an executive group of leading senior sales and marketing executives who discuss the most critical business issues in the consumer package good industry. Members often refer to the group as a safe haven to discuss emerging best practices, business strategy and leadership challenges with peers and top retail merchants.   
 
“'The Ideas That Matter' digital brief will uncover emerging insights that leaders must embrace in a highly disruptive economy. Think of it as a challenging, yet inspirational note from your personal coach” Mack said.
 
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