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Ulta Names New CEO; Tops Fourth-Quarter Estimates

Ulta taps its current president, Dave Kimbell, to succeed Mary Dillon as CEO in June
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Ulta Beauty Inc.  (ULTA)  tapped the company’s president, Dave Kimbell to succeed current CEO Mary Dillon effective later this year, as the beauty products maker reported better-than-forecast financial results for its fiscal fourth quarter after the bell on Thursday.

Ulta said fourth-quarter sales fell to $2.2 billion from $2.3 billion a year earlier. It reported adjusted net income of $193.4 million and adjusted diluted earnings per share of $3.41, vs. $3.83 a year earlier.

Ulta had been expected to report adjusted net income of $129.5 million, or $2.34 a share, on sales of $2.1 billion, based on a FactSet survey of 27 analysts.

The company said revenue was hurt in the quarter by the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, “We are encouraged by the momentum we are seeing in store traffic trends,” Dillon said in a statement. “Although our visibility as to when demand will fully recover is limited, we are confident our business will continue to strengthen in fiscal 2021, as COVID-19 vaccines become more accessible.”

For fiscal 2021, the company forecasted diluted earnings per share of $8.85 to $9.30, “including the impact of approximately $850 million in share repurchases and assuming an effective tax rate of 24.8%.”

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Kimbell will take on the CEO role in June. Dillon will become executive chairman of the company. 

Shares of Ulta fell sharply in after-hours trading. The stock traded down $34.90, or 10%, to $312.60 in recent action. In the regular session, shares gained 1.2%. The stock is up more than 10% for the year, even with the sharp decline in after-hours trading Thursday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed at records on Thursday as tech shares rallied and Treasury yields stabilized.

Boosting equities was President Joe Biden's signing Thursday of his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. The president signed the bill a day earlier than expected.

The Dow rose for a fifth day, gaining 188 points, or 0.58%, to 32,485. The S&P 500 was up 1.04% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq surged 2.52%.