Beauty products retailer Ulta Beauty reported a significant decline in business during the first two months of its first fiscal quarter. This led to a drop of nearly 15% in intraday trading on Wednesday. The decline was seen across price points and segments within the beauty category, which was larger and earlier than expected.

CEO Dave Kimbell cautioned that if this slowdown continues, Ulta Beauty expects comparable-store sales in the current quarter to be at the lower end of previous guidance, which called for a low-single-digit percentage increase. Despite the current challenges, Kimbell expressed optimism that the pullback will ease later in the year.

The company also faces stiff competition, particularly in the prestige makeup and hair care categories. This competition directly affected the company’s performance in the earlier months of the year.

Shares of Ulta Beauty fell into negative territory for the year as of Wednesday afternoon, down 14.6%. A negative impact was also seen in other companies in the sector, such as Estee Lauder and Bath & Body Works, which experienced declines of 4.3% and 3%, respectively.

By Samantha Johnson

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