Were quarterly results that disappointing at Zumiez (NASDAQ:ZUMZ)? One might wonder, considering the way investors shredded the shares, despite the retailer's impressive first-quarter growth.

First-quarter net income at Zumiez increased by 45.8% to $1.6 million, or $0.06 per share, while sales shot up 44% to $68.8 million on an 11.3% gain in same-store sales. (To get properly ramped up on all of Zumiez's first-quarter numbers, see our Fool by Numbers article.) It's obviously still making rival board sports retailer Pacific Sunwear (NASDAQ:PSUN) look much less than exciting.

While Zumiez's quarterly numbers looked good in so many ways, one interesting thing cropped up in its balance sheet. Zumiez's accounts receivables line, representing credit card payments from customers and tenant allowances, ballooned, up 183.8%. While the number nearly tripled on an absolute basis, it did not increase as much as a percentage of sales. However, there are some downsides to this for a retailer like Zumiez, since that change gets counted as a use of cash. Being a fast-growing retailer, Zumiez may need to hone the way it handles its working capital.

That, of course, doesn't explain why investors freaked out today. The culprit might be a common phenomenon with pricey, high-growth stocks like Zumiez (which of course come with nosebleed multiples).

Any, and I mean any, blip in what investors expect can cause such stocks to roller-coaster. So maybe the fact that Zumiez only "affirmed" its second-quarter guidance, instead of increasing it, made some investors head for the exits. (It's worthwhile to mention that last quarter, investors were enthused about Zumiez's results -- of course, it also gave a more exciting forecast for the current quarter than analysts were expecting.)   

There are things I really like about Zumiez. For example, I think it has a more authentic approach to retail for the board sports crowd. Unlike rivals like board-culture inspired retailers Pacific Sunwear and Abercrombie & Fitch's (NYSE:ANF) Hollister, Zumiez carries equipment as well as fashion, and I think that with real enthusiasts, that gives it an advantage. However, you've got to have a stomach for volatility if you're into fashionable, fast growers like Zumiez, which can so easily disappoint some investors' extremely high expectations.

Zumiez shares may have suffered a significant wipeout today, but it's trading at 31 times forward earnings, which likely still sounds pricey for many conservative investors. Of course, for those who are interested in Zumiez's high-growth story, any significant drop in price probably makes the stock look a wee bit more tempting.    

Zumiez is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation. Pacific Sunwear is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick.   

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.