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Blowout quarter at Ulta Salon, stock surges

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Ulta surged Friday as the company's fiscal second-quarter profit jumped 28 percent on stronger sales at its growing chain of beauty product stores.

The quarterly results of Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrances Inc. easily beat Wall Street's expectations.

Oliver Chen of Citi Investment Research said in a client note that Ulta is seeing growth in its premium lines and skin-care products, which offer higher profit margins that some other goods. New products and loyalty programs are also doing well, he added.

Chen maintained a "Buy" rating and increased Ulta's price target to $128 from $125.

Randal Konik of Jefferies also kept a "Buy" rating and boosted his price target to $120 from $110. The analyst said that the company's quarterly results were encouraging, as it continues to expand its offerings.

"We particularly like the unique positioning and store growth potential here and are encouraged by strong traction in new product offerings thus far," he wrote.

Ulta's stock soared $17.53, or 17.5 percent, to $117.69 in afternoon trading. The stock hit an all-time high of $118.27 earlier in the session.

"We are very pleased with the strong results the Ulta Beauty team delivered this past quarter, including introducing several new brands to the portfolio and making progress towards our plan to open 1200 stores," CEO Mary Dillon said in a statement. "Ulta Beauty has a differentiated format that resonates with customers and our teams are focused on delivering a great experience for the holidays."