Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty Inc.
Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. (1990–2017)
Traded as
Founded 1990 (1990) (as Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance, Inc.)
Founder Richard E. George
Headquarters Bolingbrook, Illinois, U.S.
Number of locations
974 (January 2017)[1]
Key people
Mary Dillon, CEO
Revenue US$ 4.855 billion (2016)
US$ 409.8 million (2016)
Total assets US$ 2.552 billion (2016)
Number of employees
Website www.ulta.com

Ulta Beauty Inc. (formerly known as Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. until January 2017), is a chain of beauty stores in the United States, headquartered in Bolingbrook, Illinois.[3] Ulta Beauty carries cosmetics and skincare brands, men's and women's fragrances, and haircare products. Each store is also equipped with a salon.


Ulta Salon, Cosmetics and Fragrance was founded by Richard E. George, the former President of Osco Drug, Inc. George left work at Osco in 1989, beginning his attempt to create a business plan for what would later be Ulta. His business plan included a new concept for retail that offers higher-end and lower-end products. Members of Osco and other additions joined Richard George and Terry Hanson, who raised $11.5 million in venture capital, and launched Ulta officially in 1990. In September 1996, Hanson hired Charles "Rick" Weber, another Osco veteran, as Chief Financial Officer. In the later years, Terry Hanson became president of the company. In December 1999, Lyn Kirby, formerly of Sears Circle of Beauty, became the President and Chief Executive Officer and Weber became Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer. The two ran the business together until Weber left in September 2006 when he was selected by Tom Stemberg, founder of Staples, to become Chairman and Chief Executive officer of Rec Room Furniture and Games, Inc.[2] On October 25, 2007, the company became publicly traded on the NASDAQ. In 2008, the company opened a second distribution center in Phoenix, Arizona. On April 26, 2010, Ulta announced that Carl "Chuck" Rubin would be appointed as Chief Operating Officer, President, and as a member of the Board of Directors, effective May 10, 2010. According to public filings, Rubin earned over $11.1MM in 2010, making him one of the 20 highest paid CEOs in Chicago.[4]

On June 24, 2013, it was announced that Mary Dillon would be appointed as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors, effective July 1, 2013. Dillon was previously the chief of U.S. Cellular and a senior executive at McDonald's and PepsiCo.[5]

As of February 2017, the company had a net income of $269 million, and has stock in over 20,000 products including makeup, fragrances, and nail, skin, and hair products.

Ultimately, Ulta Beauty was designed for women to go into freestanding stores, such as found in strip malls, that allow them to feel comfortable shopping in a makeup store, with no workers handing out samples. In 1994, Ulta had a makeover that eliminated products and items that were typical of drugstores, such as toothbrushes and vitamins. The store moved strictly to beauty products. In 1999 Ulta Beauty changed its name from Ulta3, changing the brand almost entirely.


In 2013, Ulta opened 125 stores in the United States, bringing their total number of locations to 675 stores. They also announced plans to open 100 more locations by the end of 2014.[6] As of January 28, 2017, Ulta operates 974 stores in 48 states and the District of Columbia.[1] A majority of Ulta Beauty stores are located in the East Coast region, although California also has a large presence of company-owned stores.[7] Ulta said it aims to have 1,000 stores located in the United States in 2017.[8]

Ulta Beauty offers both high-end and drugstore cosmetics, skincare, and fragrances,[9] in addition to its own brand of makeup, bath and body products, skincare, haircare, nail polish, and fragrances. In May 2017, MAC Cosmetics became available for purchase online,[10] with products scheduled to be in stores beginning in June 2017.[11]

Ulta has a salon located in every store nationwide. The store format includes a 950 square feet salon area with eight to ten stations. The salon has a concierge desk, skin treatment room, and semi-private shampoo and hair color processing areas. It offers services including haircuts and coloring from Redken-trained hair stylists, skin treatments and facials from Dermalogica-trained skin therapists, and manicures from OPI-trained professionals.[12] They additionally include the Benefit Brow Bar, which includes services such as brow arching, brow tinting, facial waxing, and eyelash application.[13]

Ulta Beauty sales were $713.8 million for the first quarter ending in May 2014.[14] At the end of the second quarter ending in August 2014, Ulta Beauty reported that total sales increased by 22.2 percent and comparable store sales increased 9.6 percent.[15] Wall Street expected the company's total sales to reach $3.19 billion for the fiscal year ending in February 2015, which would be almost three times its 2009 sales levels.[16]

Charitable giving

Starting in 2008, Ulta Beauty's focus in charity giving was The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.[17] Ulta Beauty also hosts programs such as their annual Donate with a Kiss campaign, which raises funds for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation throughout October, Ulta Beauty's Annual Charity Gold Outing, and Ulta Beauty's Annual Cut-A-Thon, where customers donate ten dollars to the cause in exchange for a haircut. In 2012, Ulta Beauty raised over 2 million dollars for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.[18] In 2014, Ulta Beauty partnered with Ellen DeGeneres during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October and donated $2 million for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.[19]


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