Shares of women's apparel maker, marketer, and retailer Liz Claiborne (NYSE:LIZ) dressed up a bit yesterday, with the company's market value rising nearly 5% on news that the company improved second-quarter revenues approximately 7%, gross profit 15%, operating income nearly 10%, and net income about 5%. Gross margins improved, too; one dark mark was a decrease in operating margin driven in part by sliding sales at some businesses, but that didn't dampen investors too much yesterday.

Investors have been waiting for Claiborne to put together a sustained run for some time: The company's shares, along with those of acquisitive competitor Jones Apparel (NYSE:JNY) and even smaller outperformer Ann Taylor (NYSE:ANN), have roughly tracked the S&P 500 (to differing degrees) over the last 24 months. That's nothing to sneeze at.

But they're also attracted to some of the same things that Berkshire Hathway's (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) Warren Buffett and Fool contributor Whitney Tilson have noted over the years: The company has a stable of strong brands (and isn't afraid to buy when the opportunity presents), is acquiring brands (and moving into men's streetwear), is expanding product lines and licensing its name -- and all the while growing profits, throwing off loads of cash, and keeping debt under control.

This company currently goes for about 13 times its low-end estimate for 2004 EPS -- though, it should be noted, Liz Claiborne's EPS growth can in large part be attributed to consistent share buybacks as well as increases in net income. That seems like a pretty fair price for a company that's financially strong, consistently run, and serious about maintaining its market position.

Speaking of Liz, Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison wishes his pal a safe trip to Croatia. He doesn't own any of the companies in this story.