Is Ulta Beauty Stock a Buy?

ByKatherine S

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Ulta Elegance (ULTA -.71%) gave shareholders some fantastic reasons to cheer its hottest earnings report. The beauty solutions retailer stated in its fiscal 2022 very first-quarter update that it is nevertheless expanding profits at a strong pace as persons return to a lot more in-human being interactions. Ulta’s earnings spiked, as well, as it taken care of growing prices.

CEO Dave Kimbell and his staff described a constructive surroundings in this section of the retailing earth as they elevated their 2022 outlook. Let us consider a nearer glimpse at why Ulta’s enterprise is hunting so eye-catching these days.

Person shopping for skincare products.

Impression supply: Getty Pictures.

Beating expectations

Ulta’s initially-quarter (which finished April 30) revenue rose 21% year about calendar year to trounce Wall Street anticipations but once more. That enhance was a aid thinking of the combined expansion news that other shops, which includes Walmart¬†and Goal, had just documented.

Demand for its attractiveness and skincare items remained solid despite inflation. Ulta’s 18% equivalent-keep gross sales spike was run by a healthful combine of mounting shopper traffic and elevated expending for each check out.

Management highlighted its industry share wins in a developing market. “The Ulta Splendor Crew delivered exceptional initial-quarter effects,” Kimbell mentioned in a press launch.

Ulta failed to have to sacrifice revenue to preserve people revenue ranges in history territory, either. Executives claimed in a convention connect with with analysts that prices soared on all the things from wages to transportation. But Ulta overcame that stress many thanks to its quickly growing sales footprint.

The firm also bought a lift from a change in demand towards a lot more quality make-up products and solutions. This force aided lift the functioning margin to a file 19% of gross sales.

Chart showing steep dip in Ulta's operating margin in 2020-2021, followed by rebound.

ULTA Working Margin (TTM) data by YCharts

Looking ahead

Inflation has accelerated due to the fact the company issued its 1st official 2022 outlook, and new opportunity headwinds also contain slowing economic development. But Ulta still took the prospect to hike its gross sales and income forecasts.

The retailer now sees comps rising amongst 6% and 8% when compared to the prior selection of 3% to 4%. Functioning margin really should rise above 14% to mark a massive advancement in comparison to the pre-pandemic level of all over 12% of product sales.

Administration failed to improve its focus on of opening just 50 new merchants this 12 months, which indicates a a little bit conservative strategy to the newest income spike.

But if client targeted visitors carries on booming, then it will shortly make feeling for Ulta to start out ramping up its retail outlet launch options again towards 100 launches per yr, providing it a different significant expansion avenue.