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    Ulta Beauty

Ulta Beauty is a workhorse in the glamour business. It has found the magic formula for the increasingly crowded beauty arena, offering products across the price spectrum, providing salon services, and operating stores in strip malls close to consumers. This strategy has helped Ulta report some of the strongest numbers in retail and withstand the ambitious makeovers that giants like Target, Walgreens, and Kohl’s are giving their beauty sections: Ulta’s comparable sales in the first half of the year rose 10.1%. Mary Dillon, CEO for two years, is wisely spending to bolster Ulta’s e-commerce backbone and its stores while still managing to boost the company’s operating income as a percentage of sales. Ulta plans to add several hundred stores by 2019 to reach 1,200 locations. Meanwhile, the company has generated a 42% stock increase over the past 12 months, roughly 38 percentage points better than the S&P 500.