It's a measure of the recent success at Guess? (NYSE:GES) that I looked at today's same-store-sales announcement with a bit of disappointment. Not that I think the 11.7% comps growth is bad, mind you -- it's just that the company's been spoiling us with the occasional 20-percenter, and after a while, you crave those blowouts.

Of course, 11.7% same-store-sales growth is nothing to disregard, and it's 3 points better than ye olde analyst expectations, but that's not all. For the quarter, comps growth was 17%, a lot better than the low to mid-teens that management hoped to achieve according to the guidance in the last conference call. Overall, Q2 sales increased 23.3%.

That will probably bode well for the bottom line. The real magic for Guess? these days has been increased earnings because of the greater leverage of the North American retail infrastructure. That's how strong sales gains have been turned into rocket-fueled profit growth.

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Data from Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's.

The stock has had a considerable run as well. Luckily for investors -- and I'm one of those -- I don't think the stock is fully priced for the continued success. (Based on a pretty reasonable growth rate -- 25% less than what analysts are predicting -- I calculate fair value at just beyond $50 per share.)

The key, of course, is this: How long will the good times last? It's always tough to figure out exactly why a retailer is getting hot sales, but in the case of Guess?, I think it's a distinct look, a less preppie-apple-pie vibe that you find at Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) or the frumpier Gap (NYSE:GPS) concepts, and safely removed from the competing beach 'n' board sport looks at the likes of Abercrombie's Hollister, Pacific Sunwear (NASDAQ:PSUN), or newcomer Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ).

In the last conference call, management outlined a North American expansion plan that seems ambitious but doable:

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Guess? Retail






Guess? Accessories



Moreover, the firm continues to ramp up the overseas biz, especially in Europe, where margins are better, and where much of the risk is being borne by foreign retail partners. As just one measure of the possibilities, here, as of the last conference call, management expected revenues in Europe to grow 35% for the remainder of this year. And this from a management team that has undershot all of its recent guidance.

All in all, Guess? is still rolling strong, and though the stock doesn't look exactly cheap, a little bit of outperformance should continue to drive bigger-than-expected earnings increases. Investors with a nose for retail would do well to take a look, even now.

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Seth Jayson finally found a pair of Guess? jeans, though he's sorry the salesperson had to endure a transaction with someone as unhip as he. At the time of publication, he had shares of Guess? but no positions in any other firm mentioned here. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.