Ulta Salon Shares Jumped: What You Need to Know

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of cosmetics retailer Ulta Salon (NAS: ULTA) were looking beautiful in the eyes of investors today as they boosted the stock as much as 15% after a strong second-quarter earnings report.

So what: A company that wants to make its shareholders happy doesn't need to put any fancy makeup on, it just needs to deliver results that are better than what investors were hoping for. And that's exactly what Ulta did. For the quarter, the company's revenue increased 23% from last year to $395 million, topping the average analyst estimate of $384 million. Earnings per share clocked in at $0.38, a 73% year-over-year surge and easily ahead of the expectation of $0.32.

The company saw good times across the board with same-store-sales climbing 11.3% and merchandise margins increasing. The company attributed the growth to keeping up with product trends and holding successful marketing events.

Now what: The economy may not be in great shape, but it appears that Ulta is -- and management sees that continuing. For the upcoming quarter, the company provided a forecast that hurdled analyst estimates. It projected $0.36 to $0.38 in profit per share on $400 million to $407 million in revenue. Wall Street had been looking for $0.34 in per-share profit on $396 million in revenue. Currently trading at more than 40 times estimated (calendar) 2011 earnings, a cheap stock Ulta is not. But the business sure is kicking butt and taking names.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.

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