In similar fashion to other clothing retailers such as Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN), Pacific Sunwear (NASDAQ:PSUN), and chronic underachiever Gap (NYSE:GPS), The Buckle's (NYSE:BKE) second-quarter results stunk. But that may not be such a bad thing for longer-term-oriented investors in the fickle apparel industry.

Net sales for the quarter fell 1.7% while same-store sales were even worse, falling 5.7%. Earnings dropped 12.1% but inventory jumped 32% for the quarter. I hope that's in preparation for the fall selling season and not clothes stacking up on the shelves. And finally, I'm not sure if investors should look favorably upon the fact that management repurchased nearly 85,000 of its shares for an average of $40.62, seeing as the stock currently trades at $33.79. While reducing the outstanding share base helps earnings per-share numbers, paying an extra $7 do to so was probably not the most timely move.

Nevertheless, The Buckle is a conservatively run, 346-store retailer with no long-term debt and cash on the balance sheet that accounts for about 25% of its market capitalization. It also has solid cash flow-generating capabilities, and free cash flow can be approximated by reported net income. Returns on capital are impressive, in excess of 15% currently, and the company pays a dividend with a yield currently at 1.9%.

As I mentioned in an overview of The Buckle's first-quarter results, the company is not going to post jaw-dropping growth, but it has logged a decent, steady track record of 5% top-line growth that it has been able to leverage into 9% growth in earnings each year over the past five. And earnings have grown almost 20% per year over the past three full years.

There's probably no hurry to jump into the shares (watch that inventory in the meantime), but at about 12 times earnings, the valuation is very reasonable and prices in a certain amount of downside should comparable-store trends continue to come in weak over the next few quarters. But overall, the current weak comps allow a potential low point to get into the stock.

More momentum-oriented investors may want to chase the solid numbers being posted at trendier chains such as Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), American Eagle Outfitters (NASDAQ:AEOS), or Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF). I myself am fine sticking with the laggards, hanging around until comparable-store trends turn in their favor with the hopes that the stock prices will follow.

For related Foolishness:

American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, and Pacific Sunwear are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Gap is also an Inside Value recommendation.

Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann is long shares of PacSun but has no financial interest in any other company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.