Investors clearly were pleased with Ulta’s (NASDAQ:ULTA) first-quarter report released after the bell Tuesday, as shares jumped almost 11% by midday Wednesday.
The company reported a profit of $34.9 million, or 54 cents per share, exceeding analyst estimates of 53 cents per share and marking quite an increase — nearly 50% — from the $23.3 million reported at the same time last year.
Revenue also was up 23% — $474.1 million compared to last year’s $386 million — while EPS increased at twice that rate. Same-store sales grew 10.1%, which was 1 percentage point less than last year but in line with expectations.
Ulta even upped its long-term store expansion plan. The company currently operates 467 stores around the country and just increased its target total from 1,000 to 1,200 stores; 100 of those stores are set to be added in 2012. The company also plans to introduce the Lancôme brand to around 50 additional locations by this holiday season.
Ulta’s success has in part been attributed to such new brands and growth, while an improved loyalty program and focus on Ulta.com also have helped the company.