Why Analysts Like Ulta Salon Cosmetics (ULTA)

This story has been updated from 10:09 am EST with analyst comments, stock price update.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc.  (ULTA) are spiking, up 18% to $114.69 on Friday, after the company's price target was raised to $130 from $118 at Citigroup (C) , following a better than expected second quarter earnings results and a positive third-quarter outlook that was reported yesterday after the market close.

Analysts at the firm said the cosmetics retailer remains a "consistently strong performer in a competitive and challenging environment," and kept its "buy" rating.

Ulta Salon Cosmetics posted second quarter earnings of 94 cents per share, beating theThomson Reuters consensus of 83 cents per share.

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Revenue grew 22.2% from the same quarter of last year to $734.23 million for the quarter, beating analysts' estimates of $713.01 million.

The company said it expects third quarter earnings of 79 cents to 84 cents per share on revenue of $724 million to $736 million, compared to analysts' estimates of 83 cents a share on revenue of $717.46 million for the quarter.

Sterne Agee analyst Ike Boruchow also rates the company a "buy."

"In today's retail environment, few retailers other than Ulta can achieve positive traffic and HSD comps in the near term, with double-digit footage growth and 20%+ EPS growth over the medium term - while operating a clearly differentiated business model in a stable, growing category," Boruchow wrote to clients. "All told, ULTA is one of the most compelling short- and long-term growth stories in retail today, and we would remain buyers of the shares."

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