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Ulta Q4 profit up 9.5%; to open 100 stores

Bolingbrook, Ill. -- Ulta Beauty’s fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 9.5% on better-than-expected sales. The fast-growing beauty products retailer plans to add 100 net new stores, expanding square footage by 15% and remodel 12 locations in its current fiscal year.

“Ulta Beauty achieved excellent top line growth in the fourth quarter,” said Mary Dillon, CEO. “We delivered earnings growth consistent with our expectations and made significant progress with our key growth strategies.”

For the quarter ended Feb. 1, Ulta reported a profit of $70.7 million, up from $64.5 million a year earlier.

Revenue increased 14% to $868.1 million. (The year-earlier period include an additional week of sales.) Same-store sales rose 9.2%. E-commerce comparable sales skyrocketed 82.5%.

For the fiscal year, Ulta said it opened 127 new stores, completed four store relocations and remodeled seven stores.

“I am very proud of the team’s accomplishments during 2013,” Dillon said, “including the completion of the most ambitious store opening program in our company’s history; the addition of 25 significant new brands contributing to 7.9% annual comparable store sales growth; exciting growth in our loyalty program, now 13 million members strong; and rapid growth in Ulta.com, driven by major steps forward in our e-commerce platform and fulfillment capabilities.”

Although Ulta plans to open fewer stores this year, the company is increasing its capital expenditure budget to $265 million from $226 million last year.

“From a position of strength, we are making important investments to support the long-term growth and success of Ulta Beauty,” Dillon said. “We are building the right supply chain and systems to support 1,200 stores and a much larger e-commerce business, we are developing our customer loyalty programs and CRM capabilities, we are investing in brand awareness to drive new customer acquisition, and we are working to deliver a differentiated customer experience. All of these initiatives are designed to drive sustainable growth and create shareholder value.”