The US, the world’s largest single beauty market, is poised for the Summer season. But for Ulta Beauty, Spring kickstarted a sales bonanza.

The largest speciality beauty chain in the US has reported a sales increase of 21 per cent to US$2.3 billion for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2022.

“The Ulta Beauty team delivered exceptional first quarter results, with better-than-expected sales and earnings growth, supported by double-digit comparable sales growth across all major categories,” noted Dave Kimbell, CEO of Ulta Beauty.

Prestige beauty brands outperformed their mass counterparts to deliver stronger profit margins during Q1. M.A.C‘s footprint expanded to 233 stores across the US and Chanel Beauty was also introduced to 104 stores. Other prestige standouts were Fenty Beauty and Olaplex.

Makeup sales at Ulta Beauty exceeded pre-pandemic levels, driven by foundation, concealer, eyeliner and lipsticks.

New brand debuts in skincare such as Drunk Elephant and Fresh, in addition to established brands such as LancĂ´me, Clinique and La Roche-Posay fuelled double-digit growth in skincare over the period. Moisturisers, eye and acne serums led the charge.

Haircare continued its upward trajectory, thanks to strong demand for upmarket brands including Pureology, Redken, Biolage and Fekkai. While fragrance sales gained traction through an exclusive partnership with Eilish fragrance by Billie Eilish and Gucci and Carolina Herrera juices.

Store traffic trends were also on the upswing as beauty services brought more shoppers back to stores. “Beauty services deepened consumer engagement and loyalty through connection. In the first quarter, our services delivered double-digit growth,” added Kimbell.

Ulta Beauty added 10 new stores to its network Q1, bringing its national door count to 1318. The retailer also opened 26 new Ulta Beauty concept stores in Target.

Based on its strong first quarter results, Ulta Beauty has raised its forecast for its 2022 fiscal year, predicting 6 to 8 per cent sales growth to reach between US$9.35 billion and US$9.55 billion.

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