THE WHAT? Ulta Beauty has announced its results for the first quarter of the current financial year. The company saw comparable sales fall 35.3 percent compared to the same period a year ago.
THE DETAILS Net sales for the three months ended May 2, 2020 came in at US$1,173.2 million, compared to US$1,743 million in the year-ago quarter (-32.7 percent). Profit was also significantly down, hitting US$303.6 million, compared to US$644.8 million in the equivalent period of 2019.
“Fiscal 2020 started off well, with good growth in comparable store sales, market share, and our Ultamate Rewards loyalty program through mid-March. However, the rapid escalation of COVID-19 resulted in significant disruption to our operations. For much of the first quarter, Ulta Beauty operated as a digital-only business, and while e-commerce sales exceeded our expectations, it was not enough to fully offset the impact of our store closings,” said Mary Dillon, chief executive officer. “As we have navigated the pandemic, our priority for every decision has been to protect the well-being of our associates and guests, and I am incredibly proud and appreciative of how quickly our teams adjusted to the dynamic environment.”
THE WHY? Lockdown-mandated store closures as COVID-19 spread throughout the US affected sales, although Dillon appeared confident that its curbside collect program and gradual reopening would see it through the crisis, noting that the retailer has seen stronger-than-expected sales in reopened stores.