What happened

Shares of specialty-clothing and accessory retailer Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ) jumped as much as 19.2% on Thursday. As of 1:19 p.m. EST, the stock is up 13.9%.

The stock's rise reflects better-than-expected December sales, and management's decision to raise its guidance for fourth-quarter comparable-sales growth and earnings per share.

A person in athletic shoes riding a longboard

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Zumiez December net sales increased 11.4% year over year to $160 million. Comparable sales, or sales at stores opened more than a year, increased 7.9% year over year. This marks a slight acceleration compared to November comp-sales growth of 7.8%, and it's a huge increase compared to the 3.4% growth Zumiez saw in December last year.

Citing "stronger than expected quarter-to-date sales and product margin performance," Zumiez now expects fourth-quarter comparable sales growth of 7%, up from a previous forecast for comp-sales growth between 3% and 5%.

Similarly, Zumiez said it now expects EPS to be between $0.88 and $0.90, up from previous guidance for between $0.78 and $0.84.

Now what

The company's ability to achieve strong comparable sales growth on top of positive comps in the year-ago quarter has been impressive. But Zumiez investors will want to keep an eye on sales comps to see how long this notable growth level can be sustained.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.