Ulta Salon Plunges After Forecast Trails Analysts’ Estima

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc. (ULTA), the beauty-product retailer that has full-service salons in all its stores, plunged in late trading after its first- quarter profit forecast was less than analysts’ estimates.

Ulta slid 12 percent to $78 at 4:30 p.m. in New York. The shares had fallen 10 percent this year through the close of regular trading today, compared with an 11 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Retailing Index.

First-quarter profit will range from 60 cents to 63 cents a share, the Bolingbrook, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Analysts projected 72 cents a share, according to the average of six estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales at stores open at least 14 months rose 8.8 percent during the fiscal year, compared with a 11 percent increase in the earlier period.

“We believe that Ulta will continue to drive rapid sales and earnings growth, while continuing to invest in the infrastructure needed to sustain the growth of our retail and digital businesses,” Dennis Eck, the company’s interim chief executive officer, said in today’s statement. “We are on track to open 125 stores this year, and continue to see a strong pipeline of new brands, products and services to enhance our offering.”

Ulta has a “strong, tenured team” to drive results in coming quarters and years, he said in the statement.

Chuck Rubin, Ulta’s former CEO, left the company last month to become the CEO of Michaels Stores Inc.

Ulta had 550 stores at the end of the fourth quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sapna Maheshwari in New York at sapnam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net

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