Monday, November 12, 2018

Ulta Beauty makes first-ever acquisitions; to slow store expansion

Chain Store Age
Ulta Beauty's digital strategy is moving into high gear as it starts to slowly pull back on its aggressive brick-and-mortar expansion and build a “digital innovation ecosystem. In a release, Ulta said it has invested in digital workflow partner Iterate, and an online booking tool called Spruce. The company also has acquired two technology start-ups in artificial intelligence and augmented reality — QM Scientific and GlamSt — which the retailer said will allow it to better build out its AR and AI capabilities, especially as they relate to personalization.

On the brick-and-mortar front, Ulta reduced its U.S. store target by 200 stores, scaling back from 1,700 stores to 1,500. (As of Nov. 3, the retailer operated 1,163 locations across 50 states.). It plans to open 80 stores in 2019, 75 in 2020 and 70 in 2021, in sync with “a stronger focus on optimizing the store portfolio.”. . . more