Ulta’s Black Friday sale started online Saturday and in stores today.
Spokeswoman Eileen Ziesemer said “exceptionally high demand” affected online operations and created delays.
“The Ulta Beauty team took immediate action to address and will continue to monitor, optimizing site conditions where needed to ensure all holiday shoppers can enjoy great beauty deals,” she said.
The retailer’s e-commerce sales have become vital to its growth strategy under CEO Dave Kimbell, who took the helm at Ulta last year.
Ulta’s “buy online, pickup in store” option is an example of how much traffic flows into the retailer via online channels. It was launched in 2019 and accounted for 25% of e-commerce sales last quarter. Ulta has also added tools online that will suggest what skin treatment a customer should get in-store, for example.
The National Retail Federation predicts holiday spending will increase this year, despite concerns about inflation. Holiday retail sales during November and December could grow between 6% and 8% over 2021 to between $942.6 billion and $960.4 billion, the group predicted.
“Many households will supplement spending with savings and credit to provide a cushion and result in a positive holiday season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a recent statement.
In Chicago, the average consumer is expected to spend $719 this holiday season, according to data from Accenture. That’s lower than the national average of $770.