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Ulta's 1st-qtr profit jumps 20 pct, shares jump

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. (AP) -- Ulta Beauty's fiscal first-quarter profit increased 20 percent as shoppers flocked to the beauty retailer's stores and website.

The quarter's results exceeded market expectations and shares of the Bolingbrook, Ill. company jumped in after-hours trading Tuesday.

Ulta's popularity has grown as shoppers look to the retailer for a wider array of beauty brands and products than they might find at a department store or other retailer. The company has added more store-within-store concepts to increase the presence of brands like Clinique and expanded its loyalty program to draw shoppers back regularly.

The company reported after the market closed that it earned $41.8 million, or 65 cents per share, for the quarter that ended May 4. That is compared with $34.9 million, or 54 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue shot up 23 percent to $582.7 million from $474.1 million.

Analysts polled by FactSet were, on average, anticipating earnings of 62 cents per share on revenue of $576.3 million.

Ulta, formally known as Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc., said that its revenue from established stores increased 6.7 percent. This is considered a key indicator of financial performance for retailers, as it strips away the impact of recently opened or closed stores. Ulta measures this using the performance of stores open at least 14 months, combined with revenue from online sales.

The company's expenses increased during the period, as it opened 28 new stores during the quarter. It ended the quarter with 576 stores across the country.

Ulta's interim CEO Dennis Eck said it was a strong start to fiscal 2013, with better-than-expected sales and margins. The company also benefited from a 70 percent increase in online sales revenue and said that it plans to update its e-commerce platform this fall. Eck also said that the company is on track to add 125 stores this year.

The company said that it expects to earn between 64 and 67 cents per share in its second quarter on revenue between $579 million and $589 million. Analysts were anticipating earnings of 68 cents per share, on average, on revenue of $589.7 million for the period.

Ulta also stood by its expectations for the full year of increased revenue from established stores of 4 to 6 percent. It also projects that its earnings per share will increase between 25 and 30 percent on an adjusted basis.

Analysts are anticipating the company will earn $3.31 for the year on on revenue of $2.68 billion.

Shares of Ulta jumped $7.52, or 8.9 percent, to $91.65 in after-hours trading. Its stock fell nearly 3 percent to close the regular session at $84.13 ahead of the report.