Many Australian beauty and cosmetics buyers and executives make annual pilgrimages to Ulta Beauty, the number one specialist beauty chain in the US.

A pioneer of the strategy of selling luxury and mass brands under the same roof, the company’s 1254 store network operates across 50 states.

Fiscal 2020 started on a positive note, but sales slumped to US$1.2 billion in Q1, by contrast to US$1.7 billion over the same period in 2019.

Ulta has enjoyed a huge upsurge in online sales during the pandemic, but not enough to cover the loss of bricks-and-mortar revenues. The company is currently reviewing the profitability of all its store locations and will reduce the number of planned new store openings for 2020.

Natural beauty and sustainability have captured the beauty spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic, but transparency and traceability have become even more important to consumers. To boost future revenues, Ulta has announced the launch of its Conscious Beauty initiative.

To debut in the Northern Hemisphere Autumn, SKUS will be defined under five pillars – Clean Ingredients, Cruelty-Free, Vegan, Sustainable Packaging and Positive Impact.

Clean Beauty brands will be in line with the Ulta Made Without List, which underlines that products are free of 25 chemicals including pthalates and parabens. Participating brands will be certified by ClearForMe, the leading ingredient authority in the US.

Cruelty-Free products will not be tested on animals and certified by PETA, Leaping Bunny or Choose Cruelty Free.

Vegan beauty SKUs will not contain animal products, by-products or derivatives.

Sustainability Packaging brands will use recyclable, refillable or reduced materials.

Positive Impact will be made up of brands with strong giving back programs and/or who support meaningful causes.

As the beauty retail leader, we have the unique opportunity to inspire positive change in our industry, said Dave Kimbell, president of Ulta Beauty.

“With Conscious Beauty, our focus is to educate, guide and simplify product choice and elevate those brands doing good for our world,” he said.

“This initiative helps our guests readily navigate our assortment through the lens of what matters most to them. We are thrilled to offer such transparency and set significant standards as a company”.

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