Though the mass beauty category remains negative — down 10% for the four-week period ending October 17, according to Nielsen — E.l.f. is holding its leader positioning.
In second-quarter fiscal 2021 results, announced on Wednesday, E.l.f.’s net sales for the quarter increased 7% to $72.4 million year-over-year. Chairman and CEO Tarang Amin credited these gains to the company’s digital prowess, as well as its growth internationally and in existing channels, on a call today. Gross margin increased 100 basis points to 65%, compared to 64% in September 2019. This marks E.l.f.’s seventh consecutive quarter of growth.
“We had strength going into the pandemic, and I’m really proud of the team for maintaining that strength. It first and foremost goes back to executing on our proposition of bringing the best of beauty to every eye, lip and face, and accessibly living up to that,” said Amin
Stephanie Wissink, equity analyst at Jefferies, said in her research that the brand is “meaningfully outperforming the [mass] category.” E.l.f. passed its 2019 tariff-driven price increases in September, and its subsequent “stability in sales pace is encouraging,” she said.
In an tumultuous year, E.l.f. has been busy. It acquired W3ll People in a $27 million cash deal in February and announced the details of its Keys Soulcare brand with Alicia Keys in September. While W3ll People established E.l.f.’s clean color offering, Keys Soulcare is set to lean into self-care with its candle and skin-care products. Beyond establishing itself DTC, Keys Soulcare is debuting exclusively with Ulta Beauty in December. Amin said W3ll People recently went through a site and brand refresh, and that it launched in Ulta stores as part of the retailer’s Conscious Beauty platform.
“We’ve leveraged the investments in the E.l.f. team and infrastructure to ignite our brands,” said Amin. “We’re a publicly traded company, but we’re still very much independent and are a digital disruptor. Being fast and being able to innovate are always going to be a part of our culture, no matter how big we get.”
Although economic uncertainty is expected throughout the end of the year and into 2021, the company assumes no significant disruption to its customers or supply chain for the remainder of fiscal 2021. “While we expect consumer behavior to be impacted by Covid-19 through the rest of our fiscal year, we remain optimistic about our ability to continue to gain share,” said Mandy Fields, E.l.f. Beauty’s CFO in a statement.
Amin added that, beyond the broader push for Keys Soulcare in Ulta and added distribution for W3ll People, E.l.f. will launch in Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada in the next quarter.