Shares of hat and shoe retailer Genesco (NYSE:GCO) rose more than 15% in Friday's trading, but that's not the whole story. The company's stock has been on a tear in 2004, and Friday's move has it moving back toward the highs established late last month.

What's behind the climb? Friday's jump is easily explained: The company announced that fiscal Q1 (ended May 1) sales rose 17% to $226 million as same-store sales were up for most of the company's chains. Earnings per share (EPS), meanwhile, is now expected to come in between $0.21 and $0.24, up significantly from the company's previous guidance of no more than $0.13 and last year's $0.15 reported figure, as business was "better than expected."

We haven't discussed Genesco much at the Fool, which is perhaps surprising given the company's more than 1,500 stores nationwide and well-known brands like Johnston & Murphy. But it may be that investors will start paying more attention to the company should it turn in a few more quarters like this last one. The last full fiscal year wasn't great for Genesco, with revenues and EPS (from continuing operations) falling from year-ago levels.

Things are certainly looking better now. The company's latest acquisition, Hat World, closed April 2 and the chain appears to be performing quite well: Same-store sales rocketed 23% in Q1. There are certainly challenges, among them, continuing efforts to get the store mix right and sales of the Dockers shoe line, which fell year over year in Q4, but are apparently improving.

In the meantime, however, investors are clearly pleased with Genesco's progress so far. They're no doubt hoping for more reason to celebrate on May 26, when the company is scheduled to report full Q1 results and, presumably, update full-year financial guidance (assuming it hasn't already done that by then).

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Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own shares of Genesco.