Ulta grows e-commerce 44%

Ulta Beauty's (NASDAQ:ULTA) growth in 2015 outpaced much of the broader retail industry with double-digit jumps in sales across categories and an even more stunning 44 percent climb in online revenue.

"Our fourth quarter results capped an exceptional year during which we made significant progress against our strategic imperatives, while achieving outstanding sales and earnings growth," said CEO Mary Dillon. "We continue to benefit from the powerful combination of strong demand in the beauty category and Ulta Beauty's highly differentiated offering that propels our business to transcend prevailing trends across the retail landscape."

Sales increased 21.1 percent for both the fourth quarter and full year. Same-store sales climbed 12.5 percent for the quarter and 11.8 percent for the full year, on top of double-digit gains in the same periods last year. Ulta saw sales gains in both the number of transactions and basket size.

Salon sales grew 16.7 percent for the quarter and 19.2 percent for the year, and the retailer added 3.2 million members to its Ultamate Rewards loyalty program, which now boasts more than 18.2 million active members.

Digital sales have exploded, growing 44.2 percent for the fourth quarter and 47.5 percent for the year.  

There has also been work done behind the scenes, with investments made in inventory processes to increase in-stock levels and drive better efficiency for e-commerce fulfillment.

"We also delivered against complex IT goals with the implementation of a host of new tools across the enterprise: our new warehouse management system, our new merchandise forecasting and replenishment system, and a new product information tool, among others," Dillon said.

New product and brand introductions for 2016 include Jessica Alba's Honest Beauty, Fiona Stiles Cosmetics and an exclusive from Tarte called Double Duty Beauty. Boutiques from Clinique, Lancome and Benefit will also roll out to hundreds of stores.

Ulta opened 100 stores in 2015 and will add roughly the same number this year with improved displays and signage that place more emphasis on prestige brands and services. Another 12 stores will be remodeled with these improvements.

For more:
-See this Ulta Beauty financial statement
-See this earnings call transcript at Seeking Alpha

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