What happened

Shares of fashion retailer Guess (GES -2.80%) rose a quick 12% in early trading on Thursday. The news driving those gains actually came on Wednesday, when the company released its fiscal fourth-quarter 2021 earnings results. Investors clearly liked what Guess had to say, even though it wasn't all good news.  

So what

Guess' fiscal fourth-quarter 2021 revenue came in at $648 million. That was roughly in line with analyst expectations but down about 23% year over year. The obvious reason for the top-line decline was the impact of the pandemic.

The company isn't providing firm guidance because of the still-uncertain business environment, but it expects sales to be down in the high single digits in fiscal 2022 versus fiscal 2020 (before the pandemic). In other words, it's still muddling through this rough patch.  

A hand swiping a credit card through a credit card machine.

Image source: Getty Images.

That's not great news, but Guess managed to post adjusted earnings of $1.18 per share in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021. That handily beat Wall Street's projections of $0.57 per share. This suggests that Guess is managing today's difficult retail environment better than some on Wall Street had been expecting. In fact, an analyst at B. Riley Financial, which has Guess at a buy rating, increased the stock's target price to $29 from $27 on the quarterly update. Investors like earnings beats and positive price-target updates, so it isn't surprising that the stock rose.  

Now what

Guess' stock is around 10% above where it was at the start of 2020, before the coronavirus started to spread around the globe. And yet the company has clearly stated that the impact of the pandemic is not behind it.

It wouldn't be unrealistic for more conservative-minded investors to be concerned about the quick stock rebound here. Even though Guess appears to be doing reasonably well in the face of adversity, it is still dealing with what management believes will remain an ongoing headwind for at least another year.