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Ulta Beauty bounces back

The retailer reported a same-store sales increase of 65.9% for the first quarter, reversing declines from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Ulta Beauty has emerged from a difficult pandemic year to report a jump in net sales and a comp-store sales increase of 65.9% for the first quarter ended May 1 compared with a year ago.

The company saw net sales land at $1.9 billion versus $1.2 billion in the first quarter last year. Gross profit as a percentage of net sales jumped nearly 39%. The company’s first quarter net sales and same-store sales also greatly exceeded the first quarter of 2019.

“We have emerged from 2020 with strong momentum in our sales trends, market share gains, and consumer sentiment,” said Dave Kimbell, president, Ulta Beauty. “As increasing consumer confidence, the relaxation of restrictions, and a desire for newness drive increased engagement with the beauty category, our differentiated model, combined with our ongoing efforts to create meaningful guest connections, position us well to lead through the category recovery.”

This month Kimbell steps into the role of CEO for the company.


Early on during the pandemic, Ulta was forced to close its businesses, pivoting to curbside at around 350 or its 1,250 stores where it could. The move had an impact, seeing same-store sales drop nearly 9% in Q3 2020 and 26.7% in Q2 2020.

The beauty retailer has more than 25,000 products from approximately 500 well-established and emerging beauty brands across all categories and price points, including Ulta Beauty’s own brand, the Ulta Beauty Collection.