The U.S. cosmetics retailer is expected to open its first Canadian stores in late 2020 or early 2021, according to industry sources. If it goes through, this expansion would be Ulta’s first outside the United States. (Globe and Mail)
Talking point: Ulta differentiates itself by offering a wider variety of both lower- and higher-end products, including those typically only available online, like Kylie Cosmetics, ColourPop Cosmetics and Lorac. It also offers a greater range of in-store beauty services like eyebrow grooming and hair styling. Existing competitors in Canada like Hudson’s Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart and Sephora are less of a one-stop-shop than Ulta, offering fewer in-store services and/or a narrower selection of products. Making in-store visits interactive is one way brick-and-mortar cosmetics retailers have maintained sales despite the rise of e-commerce in the space. Ulta had strong sales in 2018, increasing by 14 per cent to over US$6.7 billion; its profits rose 18.6 per cent to US$658.6 million.