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Ulta expects stronger EPS growth in FY'19

Ulta Beauty Inc. forecast stronger diluted EPS growth in fiscal 2019 year over year and expects sales in the low double-digit range, the company reported in its fiscal fourth quarter and fiscal 2018 earnings release March 14.

The Illinois-based beauty products retailer said it expects diluted EPS for fiscal 2019 to come in the range of $12.65 to $12.85. The company's diluted EPS for fiscal 2018 was $10.94, above its reported diluted EPS of $8.96 in 2017 and higher than the S&P Global Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate for GAAP EPS of $10.89.

In its fiscal 2019 outlook, Ulta said it expects total sales in the low double-digit percentage range as well as comparable sales growth of approximately 6% to 7%, including e-commerce growth of 20% to 30%. Ulta also plans to open about 80 new stores, begin work on roughly 20 remodel or relocation projects and complete about 270 store "refreshes." Ulta said it will no longer provide a quarterly outlook, in line with industry practices. Ulta said it will instead update its annual outlook on a quarterly basis.

In the fiscal fourth quarter, Ulta reported diluted EPS of $3.61, compared to $3.40 in the same quarter of fiscal 2017 and higher than the Market Intelligence mean consensus estimate of $3.56. Comparable sales grew 9.4% year over year, compared to 8.8% in the same quarter in 2017. Retail comparable sales jumped 7%, including a 6.2% increase in salon comparable sales. E-commerce sales rose 25.1% in the quarter year over year.

For fiscal 2018 comparable sales climbed 8.1%, compared to 11% in 2017. Retail comparable sales grew 5.1%, including a 3.6% growth in salon comparable sales. E-commerce sales jumped 35.4% year over year.