Anyone who's kept an eye on bebe Stores (NASDAQ:BEBE) has probably noticed this stock has a tendency to go on a rollercoaster ride. Here lately, though, things seem a bit more shaky than usual, as the company seems to have lost its way when it comes to the sexy apparel it's known for.

bebe's March same-store sales increased 0.1%, but of course, that can hardly even be called an increase, it's so minuscule. Overall sales increased 8.6% to $60.6 million. As a result of the tepid response to its offerings, the company said that its next quarterly earnings will come in at or below the low end of the $0.13-to-$0.16 per-share range.

Given the fact that many retailers reported decent March sales -- even recent retail laggard Gap (NYSE:GPS) had a better-than-expected month -- you can certainly surmise that this is a bebe-related issue. And while one month's sales data doesn't make or break any retailer, bebe's situation is also not exactly new given recent events. For example, its February comps were disappointing, too, declining by 2.2%, its first drop in comps for 46 months.

Last quarter, bebe management admitted that it needed to get back to its core sexy identity in its apparel selection. I've also been a bit leery ever since I gleaned that Neda Mashouf was leaving bebe (as well as ending her marriage to chairman and founder Manny Mashouf). She had described herself as the quintessential "bebe girl" in a 1999 Business Week article (which also pointed to her as a key trendspotter for the company). bebe's fashion misses over the last couple of months certainly give credence to the idea that she was not a good employee to lose.  

I wouldn't suggest throwing the bebe out with the bathwater, of course. A Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation, bebe is known for having strong financial attributes, like its balance sheet. Furthermore, fashion misses are a major -- and common -- risk in the world of retail. I've experienced my own rollercoaster ride with Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN), which finally ended its long streak of incredible growth last year when it misjudged some key trends in a big fashion shift. Its share price may be back on the uptrend here lately, but it's been quite a ride. No retailer is immune. It's just a matter of time before a fashion miss hits hard, but much of the time it's temporary trouble, as long as the company hasn't really lost its way, injured its brand, or permanently lost its core customers to hotter rivals.

That said, investors should take heart in the fact that management seems aware that bebe needs to get back to its sexy roots, bearing in mind that the short term might still be bumpy.  

For more on the world of fashion retailers, check out:

bebe and Gap are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. To find out what other companies David and Tom Gardner have thought investors should try on for size, click here for a 30-day free trial. Gap is also a Motley Fool Inside Value recommendation.

Alyce Lomax owns shares of Urban Outfitters. The Fool has a disclosure policy that's always in fashion.