Ulta Beauty Inc.’s shares rallied 5.7% in Thursday trading after the retailer said same-store sales for the third quarter increased 7.8%, ahead of the 6.5% FactSet consensus and within the 7%-to-8% range the company gave in its most recent earnings report. Ulta is hosting its investor conference on Thursday. For the full year, Ulta expects same-store sales in the 7%-to-8% range, narrowing the previous 6%-to-8% growth guidance. The FactSet consensus is for 7.7% growth. Ulta expects third-quarter EPS at the high end of the $2.11-to-$2.16 range. The FactSet consensus is for EPS of $2.17. And the company reconfirmed its EPS growth for fiscal 2018 in the low-20% range. For fiscal 2019, 2020, and 2021, the company expects same-store sales growth in the 5%-to-7% range and EPS growth in the high-teens percentage range. CFRA upgraded Ulta to buy from hold and raised its price target $100 to $351 because analyst Camilla Yanushevsky says she’s “impressed by Ulta’s innovation mindset.” Ulta Beauty shares have gained 37.2% for the year to date while the S&P 500 index is up 5.1% for the period.
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