Ahead of the Bell: Ulta Salon

Analyst boosts Ulta Salon's rating and price target, says more room to grow its store count

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Jefferies analyst boosted his rating and price target for Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. on Thursday, citing innovative products and room to grow its store count.

Randal Konik raised the beauty products company's rating to "Buy" from "Hold" and increased its price target to $100 from $85.

In a client note, the analyst said that anti-aging products are among those that should continue to lift Ulta's revenue. Konik said that baby boomers between the ages of 49 and 67 have significant disposable income that they are spending on anti-aging skincare products and devices.

The analyst also said that the addition of more high-end brands like Benefit, Lancome, Philosophy and Clinique at its stores should also help the Bolingbrook, Ill., company.

While Ulta currently has 550 stores, Konik believes this is still "a relatively early stage of growth," and feels that the retailer may be able to more than double its store base. Ulta's long-term store target is 1,200, but Konik believes the company may top that.

The analyst said Ulta's distribution model is also attractive to shoppers, as it offers mass brands, prestige brands and salon services all at one location. Konik feels that this concept will "continue to chip at the share of department stores, drug stores and discount retail, which provide more limited offerings."

A representative for Ulta could not be immediately reached for comment.

Ulta Salon shares rose $1.33, or 1.6 percent, to $83.33 in premarket trading Thursday. Its shares have traded in a 52-week range of $72.51 to $103.52.

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