Ulta Salon Gets New Finance Head

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Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. (ULTA) recently revealed that it has appointed Bruce L. Hartman as the chief financial officer (:CFO), effective September 7. Hartman will succeed Greg Bodnar, who has resigned for personal reasons.

Bodnar, who has been acting as Ulta’s CFO since 2006, will continue for some time to facilitate the transition. In his new role, Hartman will be in charge of the company’s financial executions and will report to the president and chief executive officer (CEO), Chuck Rubin.

Hartman has donned many important roles in his illustrious career. Previously, he was the CFO at The Yankee Candle Company from 2008. Prior to that, he held the same post at Cushman & Wakefield from 2006 to 2008.

With his rich financial experience, Hartman can easily be tagged as a veteran in the retail industry. A number of leadership positions held at one of the world’s leading athletic apparel retailers, Foot Locker Inc. (FL), coupled with 10 years of experience with May Department Stores as well as other vital financial roles with Filene’s, Famous-Barr, Robinsons-May, Lord & Taylor, and G. Fox & Company, also vouch for his expertise.

Under his leadership, Foot Locker scaled new heights in terms of market share gains, continued earnings growth, the implementation of extensive cost containment programs and integration of various acquisitions. Hartman served the company from 1996 to 2005, during which Foot Locker achieved $5.5 billion in sales with as many as 4,000 stores in 17 countries.

Hartman’s list of achievements does not end there. He has been a member of the Board with rue21.inc (RUE), a leading specialty apparel retailer with more than 700 stores, since 2010 and with Pathmark Supermarkets from 2004 to 2007.

Considering Hartman’s vast know-how about brand repositioning as well as his prior experience as CFO with leading retailers, we believe that he will likely provide meaningful support to Ulta’s growth and profitability, going forward.

Ulta has started 2012 on a high note and expects the trend to continue throughout the year aided by its strategy of unit acceleration, leveraging the new products and services, enhancing loyalty program and broadening marketing reach.

Ulta currently carries a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. We are maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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