Ulta -14.5% AH on Q3 miss, subpar guidance

Ulta Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance (ULTA) shares are taking a beating AH, down 14.5% following a Q3 miss and subpar guidance.

Comparable store sales increased 6.8% Y/Y, a slowdown from the 8.9% jump in Q3 2012.

Gross profit edged up 70 bp to 37.4%, while SG&A as a % of sales climbed 120 bp to 24.5%

The company opened 55 new stores in Q3, relocated 3, and remodeled 6.

Management's Q4 guidance is paltry relative to analyst expectations: revenue is seen at $853M-$867M (vs. consensus of $894.8M) on comps of 7%-9%, EPS at $1.08-$1.10 ($1.24). The forecast takes into account "softer retail sales trends at the end of the third quarter which are expected to continue, as well as the Company's plans to maintain strong market share gains during a highly competitive and promotional holiday season."

Conference call at 5pm ET, PR

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