Ulta Beauty halts expansion into Canada to focus on U.S. operations, online shopping

BOLINGBROOK, Ill. — Ulta Beauty Inc. is scrapping its planned expansion into Canada, saying it will instead focus on its U.S. operations and "omnichannel capabilities" including online shopping.

In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Illinois-based beauty retailer says the decision comes as a result of the "current operating environment."

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Ulta, the largest beauty chain in the United States, announced last year plans to expand internationally with an initial launch into Canada.

The company says halting those plans will cost US$55 million to US$65 million as a result of lease obligations for a small number of stores and early-stage infrastructure buildout.

The beauty retailer says it continues to believe international markets provide a long-term growth opportunity.

Ulta, which sells products like cosmetics and fragrance at more than a thousand stores across the U.S., says it plans to invest in customer "experience and discovery," increased loyalty and personalization efforts and new U.S. store openings.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

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