What happened

e.l.f. Beauty (NYSE:ELF) shareholders outperformed a rising market last month. Shares rose 18% in February compared to a 2.6% gain in the S&P 500, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.

The rally added to recent gains for the stock, which is up over 50% in the past full year.

A woman applying makeup.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Investors cheered the makeup specialist's fiscal third-quarter announcement that in early February showed strong operating trends despite COVID-19 pandemic pressures. Sales rose 10% through late December, management said, marking its eighth straight quarter of gains. "Of the top five color cosmetics brands in the U.S.," CEO Tarang Amin said in a press release, "e.l.f. grew the most [market] share in the quarter."

Now what

The company entered 2021 with 6% market share, up about 1 full percentage point compared to last year. That momentum has executives now targeting sales gains of about 8% for the current year compared to their last forecast calling for a 6% increase. While marketing and advertising expenses are also rising, investors should be pleased to see e.l.f. achieving robust growth in a difficult year for the wider makeup market.

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