Ulta Salon Plunges After Forecast Trails Estimates

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc., the beauty-product retailer with full-service salons in all of its stores, plunged in early trading after forecasting first-quarter profit that was less than analysts estimated.

Ulta slid 13 percent to $77.30 at 8:02 a.m. in New York. The shares had fallen 10 percent this year through the close of regular trading yesterday, compared with an 11 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Retailing Index.

First-quarter profit will be 60 cents to 63 cents a share, the Bolingbrook, Illinois-based company said yesterday in a statement. Analysts projected 72 cents a share, 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 an 11 percent increase in the earlier period.

“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 the 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.

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