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Ulta Beauty on expansion fast track

US retail chain Ulta Beauty is on a rapid expansion program, buoyed by soaring demand for cosmetics.

In the words of US retail publication Chain Store Age, “no [US] retailer has more momentum right now than Ulta Beauty”.

In the last financial quarter – to January 31 – the company opened 103 new stores, taking its total network to 874. It has already confirmed another 100 for this year as part of a US$390 million capital expenditure program.

And it is achieving growth not just by network expansion: same store sales rose 12.5 per cent in the last quarter and it is expect to post double digit growth throughout 2016.

“We continue to benefit from the powerful combination of strong demand in the beauty category and Ulta Beauty’s highly differentiated offering that propels our business to transcend prevailing trends across the retail landscape,” said Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon.

Fourth quarter sales reached $1.3 billion and net income increased 23.6 per cent to $107.8 million.

Full year sales increased 21.1 per cent to $3.9 billion and same store sales increased 11.8 per cent compared to a 9.9 per cent the prior year. Full year profit increased 24.5 per cent to $320 million.

As well as its swelling store ranks, Ulta Beauty is thriving online: fourth quarter eCommerce sales increased 44.2 per cent to $94.8 million and full year eCommerce sales by 47.5 per cent to $221.1 million.

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