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Ulta Beauty Jumps on Second-Quarter Earnings Beat

Ulta Beauty puts its best face forward after the beauty retailer posts better-than-expected quarterly results, including a surge in online sales.

Ulta Beauty  (ULTA) - Get Ulta Beauty Inc Report put its best face forward on Friday after the beauty products retailer posted better-than-expected quarterly results, including a surge in online sales, as consumers continued to scoop up their favorite brands of makeup and accessories.

Shares of Ulta Beauty gained on Friday after the cosmetics retailer posted adjusted per-share earnings of 73 cents for the quarter ended Aug. 1, beating analysts' estimates of 6 cents a share. The company also said e-commerce sales had more than tripled in the quarter.

Comparable-store sales, a key metric for retailers, were down 10% in July, but much improved from the 37% drop the company saw back in May. The improvement continued in August, with sales off by just mid-single digits through the first three weeks, Ulta said.

The results were another bright spot in the increasingly bifurcated retail world, where retailers with generally lower-priced goods are seeing a recovery in sales, vs. higher-end retailers who have been struggling to get consumers to open their wallets again.

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For the full quarter, comparable-store sales declined 26.7% year over year, beating the average analyst estimate of 28.6%.

Ulta said it brought 17,000 furloughed workers back on the job as it re-opened stores. After temporarily closing all locations due to the pandemic, Ulta fully reopened all its stores by July 20. It now also offers salon services in the majority of its stores.

For the second half of fiscal 2021, Ulta expects to incur around $35 million to $40 million in personal-protective equipment and Covid-19-related costs, the company said.

Shares of Ulta Beauty were up 6.71% at $238.98 in trading on Friday.