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Ulta Shares Still Pricey After The Pullback?

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Ulta Shares Still Pricey After The Pullback?

Shares of Ulta Beauty Inc (NASDAQ: ULTA) peaked at $314.86 but have since pulled back to below the $300 level.

Analysts at Deutsche Bank noted that retail stocks have been hard hit after Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced it plans to acquire Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NASDAQ: WFM) and increased its relationship with Nike Inc (NYSE: NKE). At first glance, these announcements have little to do with Ulta, but investors are likely pondering what Amazon has up its sleeves next — and it could very well be the beauty space.

Deutsche Bank's Mike Baker said Amazon's ambitions have, so far this year, impacted the apparel, auto parts, grocery and sporting goods spaces. But, if Amazon's next move is to expand within the beauty space, Ulta is in fact better positioned than other retailers to take on the e-commerce giant for three reasons.

Ulta boasts:

    1. Better access to leading brands.
    2. Better pricing.
    3. Better web functionality.

In fact, among a selection of 43 brands available at Ulta, Amazon only sells 28; only five of those are sold through first party with the rest in the marketplace. Moreover, 18 of the 28 products were priced higher on Amazon, with the average gap greater than 20 percent.

Baker maintains a Hold rating on Ulta's stock with an unchanged $300 price target, despite the pullback, as the stock still appears to be expensive. However, the pullback does "warrant a second look."

Loop Capital's First-Hand Checks

Loop Capital Market's Anthony Chukumba remains bullish on Ulta's stock after touring the company's new Chicago "Magnificent Mile" store and left impressed.

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Ulta's new store is consistent with its typical suburban stores with a few notable differences, including:

    1. Video displays near the entrance and the salon.
    2. Higher quality fixtures in many departments.
    3. Tile floors instead of "faux wood."
    4. Additional seats in the salon.

The store also contains new brands and an overall greater in-store experience, which indicates that management has "no intention of resting on its laurels" after several quarters of impressive growth, the analyst added. In fact, this also indicates there are multiple future growth drivers ahead, which bodes well for the bullish case in owning the stock.

Shares of Ulta are currently trading at 34.4x the analyst's fiscal 2017 diluted earnings per share estimate, which represents a significant premium to its peers but in line with its own historical levels. A $350 price target also implies the stock will continue trading in line with its historical value and will move higher when investors transition to valuing the stock on its 2018 estimates as opposed to 2017's numbers.

Related Links:

Many Retailers Are 'Incredibly Bad' At Offering Compelling Shopping Experiences, New Survey Finds

How Millennial Preferences Could Change Beauty Industry

Latest Ratings for ULTA

DateFirmActionFromTo
Jul 2019MaintainsOverweight
Jun 2019MaintainsHold
Apr 2019MaintainsOverweightOverweight

View More Analyst Ratings for ULTA
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

Posted-In: Anthony Chukumba Beauty Beauty Products Beauty Stocks Deutsche BankAnalyst Color Reiteration Analyst Ratings Best of Benzinga

 

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