Ulta Salon to launch in-store men's boutiques

NEW YORK Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:40pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Ulta Salon Cosmetics and Fragrance Inc (ULTA.O) is rolling out men's grooming boutiques inside the vast majority of its stores by early August, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

Ulta, which operates 389 stores, already sells men's products and Chief Executive Chuck Rubin told the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit that creating a specific space within its stores for men should increases sales of those items.

"It was spread around different parts of the store and I think pulling it together to be a true grooming boutique for men is appropriate," Rubin said.

Ulta, which competes with salons, mass market retailers, department stores and boutique sellers of beauty products, has been working to differentiate itself as a one-stop destination for everything from low-priced nail polish to high-end hair dryers, fragrances and even haircuts.

It has topped Wall Street's profit forecasts for several quarters and its shares, trading near $64 on Tuesday, continue to hit fresh highs.

The roll-out of the men's spaces, now under way, will be finished by early August, Rubin said.

The men's boutiques will feature products from Procter & Gamble's (PG.N) "The Art of Shaving" line, as well as other products such as electronic razors, cologne and hair care lines.

The boutiques should draw more men to its stores, but they will remain a minority of Ulta's shoppers, Rubin said. He said the men's business should still only be a "minority" part of Ulta's business. Last fiscal year, Ulta rang up sales of $1.45 billion.

"While I think the men's grooming shop may increase the number of men who shop, the bulk of the products will still be bought by (a woman) for her significant other."

Rubin said the men's boutiques would represent a small but clearly dedicated space near the front of the stores, which on average are 10,000 square feet.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba and Jessica Wohl; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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