Just about a year ago, Rick Aristotle Munarriz took a look at warehouse club operator PriceSmart (NASDAQ:PSMT), calling it a company that might look interesting to potential acquirers looking to buy a historically profitable retail operation with international exposure -- and one that had fallen on hard times. And he was right, sort of; those acquirers are investors who've helped the company's shares outperform the S&P 500 over the last 12 months.

To understand why this has happened, one needn't look much further than the company's recent news file. Last week, PriceSmart -- which operates in Latin America, Asia, and the Caribbean -- said September same-store sales rose 6.8% year over year despite some store closures caused by hurricanes. (The company's "comps" were similar in August.) And last month it moved to clarify its financial picture by raising cash, paying off debt, and exchanging its common stock for its preferred stock.

Investors in PriceSmart, which runs a business akin to Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Wal-Mart's (NYSE:WMT) Sam's Club, BJ's Wholesale (NYSE:BJ), or, perhaps more appropriately, Pacific OceaniteCost-U-Less (NASDAQ:CULS), are no doubt happy to get some positive news from the company. In July management reported nine-month (ended May 31) financial results that saw sales fall significantly year over year, an operating loss, and substantially widened net losses.

At the time, management admitted to continued challenges in merchandising and operations and vowed to address them -- it hopes that the appointment of consultant Jose Luis Laparte, who has international Sam's Club experience, will help. (Laparte was to take the post from Chairman and interim CEO Robert Price this month.) The top-line upturn, it seems, has investors thinking that it already has.

Fool contributor Dave Marino-Nachison doesn't own any of the companies in this story.