Citi analysts adjusted their price target for Ulta Beauty (NASDAQ:ULTA), reducing it by $35 to $440 per share, amid expectations that the company may fall short of analyst forecasts in its upcoming Q3 report, which is scheduled on Nov 30.

Consequently, the analysts initiated a 30-day negative catalyst watch on ULTA stock. The analyst predicts a slight miss in third-quarter EPS compared to the consensus, expecting $4.92 versus the consensus of $4.97. This projection is attributed to a lower gross margin (down 190 basis points versus the consensus of a 140 basis point decline) due to the impact of last year’s favorable pricing dynamics and increased shrinkage/promotional activities.

Additionally, Citi anticipates Ulta may revise its full-year outlook downward, as management adopts a more cautious stance regarding the holiday season, given slowing category trends and the dual challenges of higher promotions and ongoing shrinkage issues.

Looking ahead to fiscal year 2024, the analysts expect these challenges to persist. Given the uncertain macroeconomic environment, a more conservative approach is being taken. The analyst’s 2024 earnings estimate of $25.30 is below the Street estimate of $26.83, based on anticipated lower sales and gross margins.

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