Echoing our new thematic list, let's take another look at Ulta Beauty - a familiar name to MarketScreener subscribers.

Fears that the beauty chain's meteoric growth has reached a plateau are nothing new. New store openings have slowed considerably. But sales remain on an upward slope: on average, they were growing at an annual rate of 17% between 2012 and 2022; between 2022 and 2024, this average was 14%.

So there's no need to panic. Moreover, aware of the market's structural limits, the Group embarked on a new strategic pivot two years ago, focusing on partnerships with other retailers - the most strategic of which is with Target.

Investors are clearly only half-believing. Perhaps they are also apprehensive about Sephora's formidable competition on the North American continent. As a result, Ulta's market capitalization is down to fifteen times earnings - a low point from which it usually bounces back.

All financial performance metrics are in the green. In addition to growth continuing apace, operating margin remains anchored at an all-time high, as does return on equity; indebtedness is insignificant, and inventory turnover is in line with its average.

No slowdown in sight. Ulta is aggressively buying back its shares - it devotes all its free cash flow to this purpose - with the result that earnings per share are growing at a faster pace than sales. In a defensive and resilient business, this management choice appears to be very well inspired.