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Ulta Beauty says 3Q income climbed 43 percent

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (AP) -- Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. said Thursday that net income rose 43 percent in its fiscal third quarter as costs decreased even though the company opened dozens of new stores.

Shares jumped 5 percent in after-hours trading.

The company said its profit margins improved and revenue grew 22 percent in the quarter ended Oct. 27. Ulta also reported strong growth in sales at its older stores — an important measurement of retailer performance. It also raised its annual earnings guidance.

Net income rose to $38.2 million, or 59 cents per share, from $26.8 million, or 42 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue increased to $505.6 million from $413.1 million.

Analysts forecast profit of 56 cents per share and $503.9 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Sales at stores open at least 14 months rose 8.4 percent, which was better than analysts expected. That measurement is a key reading of retailer health, because it excludes results from stores that recently opened or closed.

During the third quarter Ulta opened 49 stores, relocated one, closed one, and remodeled 11 to give the company a total of 537 stores.

Ulta expects to earn 96 to 98 cents per share in the fiscal fourth quarter, on revenue of $742 million to $754 million. Analysts estimate net income of 96 cents per share and $735.5 million in revenue for the quarter.

For the full fiscal year the company now projects net income of $2.64 to $2.66 per share, up from a previous estimate of $2.58 to $2.60 per share. Analysts expect $2.61 per share on average.

Ulta shares rose $4.65, or 5 percent, to $97.80 in after-hours trading.