Due to the "uncertainty and disruption created by COVID-19” Ulta now expects to open around 30 stores in fiscal 2020 instead of the expectation in late May to open between 30 and 40 stores, the company said in a statement Monday.
|ULTA||ULTA BEAUTY, INC.||357.96||-5.39||-1.48%|
Ulta also said it would permanently close 19 stores in the second and third quarter of 2020.
“In navigating the fluid dynamics of COVID-19, we are keeping the safety of our guests and associates at the heart of every decision we make,” CEO Mary Dillon said. “We anticipate COVID-19 will influence longer-term market shifts and create new real estate opportunities, supporting our ambition to ultimately operate between 1,500 to 1,700 Ulta Beauty stores in the U.S. We are proactively optimizing our real estate portfolio and have made strategic decisions to temporarily reduce new store openings and close a limited number of stores this year.”
The company said it expects to resume new-store openings in August with measures designed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, like encouraging social distancing and requiring face masks for staff and shoppers. Guests can also use curbside pickup or buy online and pick up in-store.
About half of the retailer’s workers who were furloughed in April are back and the company said in the note that it plans to reassign salespeople from closing locations where possible.
Shares of Ulta fell 1.45 percent Monday and are down 43 percent on the year, as the retail industry tries to navigate the outbreak. In its first-quarter earnings, the company reported that net sales dropped 32.7 percent year-over-year to $1,173.2 million. Comparable sales fell 35.3 percent.