Skin deep Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2009
Consumer Products

The original business strategy for ULTA was to position the company simply as a discount beauty retailer. But when Lynelle Kirby came on board in 1999, she began the journey to create the premier beauty superstore.

The difficulty of achieving that goal became apparent after Kirby joined the company and found that management was deeply divided on staying with the positioning of a discount beauty retailer versus following the new vision to be a superstore. In her first six months on the job, Kirby needed to make tough personnel decisions on who could help move the company forward. Existing customers were also content with the “discount beauty” offered by ULTA, so as she worked to reposition the brand, it was a delicate balance to attract the customer of the future while retaining the existing customer.

Today’s ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. combines the product breadth, value and convenience of a beauty superstore with an environment and experience of a specialty retailer, providing consumers with affordable indulgences.

The company is the largest beauty retailer in the U.S., offering one-stop shopping for mass, prestige and salon products and services. During the nearly 10-year transition, Kirby has expanded the company’s selection in prestige, color, skin and fragrance, while never losing sight of the company’s roots or its valued customers. She also updated and remodeled stores and created new marketing vehicles and a loyalty program.

From 2002 to 2007, ULTA more than doubled its store base and total revenue, with the company’s sales increasing at a 20 percent compound annual rate, with net income up 21 percent per year on average.

In October 2007, Kirby led the company through a successful IPO, and the stock trades on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol ULTA. The company currently operates 321 retail stores in 36 states and distributes its products online.

For More Information: ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc.,