The Ratings Game: Ulta is safe from Amazon but L’Oréal says U.S. beauty market is soft

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Ulta has created a moat for itself versus Amazon and department store competitors, analysts say.

Ulta Beauty Inc.’s problem isn’t Amazon.com Inc., but a softening U.S. beauty market, according to Oppenheimer analysts, who downgraded the stock to perform from outperform.

Analysts assigned Ulta a price target of $270.

While many retailers are feeling the pain of the “Amazon effect,” Ulta ULTA, +1.05% may face bigger problems at department stores, Oppenheimer said in a Monday note. Analysts based their downgrade on comments from L’Oréal S.A. OR, -0.54% which reported second-quarter earnings on Friday.

“The U.S. market has turned out to be difficult since January 2017, while western Europe and the new markets have accelerated,” said Christian Mulliez, L’Oreal’s chief financial officer, according to a FactSet transcript of the call.

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