What: Shares of Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (NASDAQ:ULTA) jumped on Friday after the company reported its third-quarter results. Ulta beat analyst estimates for both revenue and earnings, with both comparable sales and online sales soaring. At 11 a.m. EST, the stock was up about 10%.
So what: Ulta reported quarterly revenue of $910.7 million, up 22.1% year over year and about $31 million higher than the average analyst estimate. This growth was driven by a 12.8% rise in comparable sales during the quarter, as well as the opening of 45 new stores. E-commerce sales jumped 56.3% year over year to $46.2 million.
Net income came in at $1.11 per share, up from $0.91 per share during the same period last year and $0.06 higher than analysts were expecting. Gross margin declined by 90 basis points year over year, mostly due to supply chain disruptions, while both SG&A expenses and pre-opening expenses shrunk as a percentage of revenue.
Ulta CEO Mary Dillon pointed to the company's loyalty program as a key driver of its strong results. "Ulta Beauty's excellent performance in the third quarter was highlighted by top-line momentum driven by double-digit traffic growth, leading to above-plan earnings growth," Dillon said. "Delivering against our six strategic imperatives continues to drive our business forward. We believe our efforts to build awareness of the Ulta Beauty brand are bringing more guests to discover our differentiated assortment and the benefits of our loyalty program, now boasting 17 million active members."
Now what: In addition to beating analyst estimates for the third quarter, Ulta provided in-line guidance for the fourth quarter. Revenue is expected to be $1.212 billion to $1.233 billion, compared to an average analyst estimate of $1.22 billion, while EPS is expected to be $1.48 to $1.53, up from $1.35 during the fourth quarter of last year.
Ulta also raised its guidance for the full year, calling for comparable-sales growth of 10% to 11%, up from a previous range of 8% to 10%. E-commerce sales are expected to grow by roughly 40%, while EPS growth is now expected to be in the low 20s percentage range, compared to previous guidance of a high teens percentage increase.
Shares of Ulta have been a bit volatile in recent months, driven in part by mixed results from other retailers. But with solid third-quarter numbers and increased guidance, it's not surprising that investors are pushing the stock higher.
Timothy Green has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.