BEAUTY CARE

Survey examines how many customers are satisfied with their looks

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — Are you satisfied with your looks? According to new GfK research, 60% of people in the United States said they are “completely” or “fairly” satisfied with their looks — slightly higher than the global average of 55%.

Across all 22 countries studied, 12% went as far as saying that they are “completely satisfied” with their appearance versus 16% in the United States. In contrast, only 16% globally, and 13% in the Unite States, expressed any dissatisfaction with how they look.

According to the findings, complete satisfaction with personal looks is highest in Latin America, with Mexico, Brazil and Argentina all appearing in the top five for the percentage of population claiming this. The Japanese are the most critical of their own looks, with 38% not too satisfied or not at all satisfied, followed by the British, Russians and South Koreans (all at 20%).

In the United States, 21% of teens say they are “not at all” or “not too” satisfied with their appearance; only boomers in the 50 to 59 age bracket come close to this level of dissatisfaction. But the teen level is in line with the global average (20%) for that age group; and U.S. consumers in the 20 to 29, 30 to 39, and 40 to 49 age brackets are more positive about their looks than people globally. Overall, people aged 60 and older were among the least self-critical, both in the Unite States and worldwide.

The genders are about the same in terms of happiness with their looks; in the United States, 60% of men and 61% of women say they are either “completely” or “fairly” satisfied with their appearance. In the global measurement, both sexes came out at 55%. But U.S. women are slightly more likely than men to be displeased with their looks — 14% are “not too” or “not at all” satisfied, compared with 11% of U.S. men. This disparity is roughly in line with the global averages.

GfK conducted the online survey (face-to-face in Ukraine) with more than 27,000 people aged 15 or older in 22 countries. Fieldwork was carried out in summer 2014.
 

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Study finds both male- and female-oriented products sell better

BY Michael Johnsen

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Consumers are more likely to buy products that are highly gendered — whether masculine or feminine – than they are to buy products that are not as gendered, according to a new study from the University of Miami School of Business Administration
 
The study, published in the April 2015 issue of Psychology & Marketing, found that consumers place a higher value on products that have been assigned a gender using aesthetic attributes like color, texture, weight and tone. For instance, if a product appears more "female" — shiny, smooth, colorful and light-weight — or "male" (angular and bulky with a dull texture) a shopper is more likely to perceive it as more functional and is more likely to buy it.
 
"We found that this was the case for both male- and female-gendered products regardless of the gender of the consumer," said Claudia Townsend, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Miami School of Business, who conducted the research with professors from the University of St. Gallen. "The findings offer real design guidelines for product makers."
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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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