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Ulta Beauty (ULTA) to Keep Stores Closed This Thanksgiving

Zacks Equity Research
·3 min read

Ulta Beauty, Inc. ULTA decided to keep stores closed this Thanksgiving on Nov 26, 2020. All stores will operate normally on Nov 25. Further, the company will announce specific store hours for the holiday season.

Nevertheless, consumers can shop on ulta.com and the Ulta Beauty app, throughout the Thanksgiving season, and thereby avail exciting gifts.

Management highlights that the decision to keep stores closed on Thanksgiving is a way of expressing gratitude toward their associates, who have continued to serve exceptionally well amid the pandemic.

Recent Store Based Moves

Last Month, Ulta Beauty informed investors about its plans to permanently shut 19 stores. These closures are likely to be executed during the second and the third quarter of fiscal 2020. Moreover, management anticipates opening nearly 30 new stores in fiscal 2020. Additionally, Ulta Beauty expects to open more stores in the United States and Canada sometime in fiscal 2021.

We note that Ulta Beauty had completed its phased reopening of stores in July, as coronavirus induced restrictions were eased. The reopening enabled the company to call back nearly 50% of its staff that were temporarily furloughed in April due to store closures.

Digital Sales Offer Support Amid Pandemic

Ulta Beauty has been coming up with several store-based decisions lately to keep its operations smooth and adjust to consumers’ altering shopping preferences amid the pandemic.

Like most retailers, Ulta Beauty is witnessing growth in its digital sales. This is well reflected in the company’s first-quarter fiscal 2020 results. Even though net sales in the first quarter slumped 32.7% year over year, e-commerce sales accelerated and more than doubled as the company was operating digital-only business.

Moreover, this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company is on track with boosting curbside and in store pickups. It is focused on efforts to augment clean beauty business. It is also undertaking strong measures to protect its financial flexibility.

Wrapping up, we expect the company’s strong digital sales trend and effective loyalty programs to help revive investor confidence, which has otherwise remained tarnished by the overall grim sales picture and store closures. Shares of the company have lost 4.2% in the past three months compared with the industry’s rise of 23.8%.

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