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18 Sep

Kecia Steelman is Promoted to President of Ulta Beauty

Kecia L. Steelman, Ulta’s chief operating officer who’s viewed in industry circles as a possible successor to chief executive officer Dave Kimbell, has added president to her title.

Within the joint roles, Steelman has responsibility for corporate strategy, information technology, store and services operations, supply chain, Ulta Beauty at Goal, enterprise-wide transformation and loss prevention.

That features inventory shrink — the difference between balance-sheet inventory and actual stock that is usually blamed on organized retail crime — which has weighed on Ulta’s gross margin. As a part of that, she has led Ulta’s move to lock up fragrance in cabinets in 70 percent of stores by the top of the 12 months.

“What we’re seeing is within the initial stores that we rolled out the locked fragrance cases for, we actually saw sales improvement because we were in stock with the product,” she said during an August call with analysts to debate Ulta’s most up-to-date earnings.

Steelman was named chief operating officer in 2021 when Kimbell was appointed CEO. Prior to that, she has been chief store operations officer since 2015. Previously, she was group vp at Family Dollar Stores from 2011 to 2014.

“Kecia is a talented executive with a proven track record of driving operational excellence while fostering a caring and inclusive culture and creating exceptional guest experiences,” said Kimbell. “Over the past 12 months, Kecia has increased her scope and influence inside our organization, and this expanded role recognizes her value to the corporate and her many contributions to our success, while also demonstrating our ongoing confidence in her leadership to assist us drive profitable growth for the corporate over the approaching years.”

Last month, Ulta raised its full-year outlook on the back of a robust second quarter. The wonder retailer now expects net sales to are available at a spread between $11.05 billion and $11.15 billion. Previously it had forecast $11 billion to $11.1 billion. Estimates for diluted earnings per share have been lifted to $25.10 to $25.60, from $24.70 to $25.40.

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