I could apply several labels to Gander Mountain's (NASDAQ:GMTN) quarterly report. "Mixed" comes to mind, as does "transitional." I'm certainly not ready to call it "solid" or "good." But neither does "weak" really apply to the nation's largest marketer of outdoor recreational equipment.

In a very real sense, this may have been a transitional quarter for Gander Mountain. For instance, sales increased nicely, both absolutely and on a same-store basis, with respective 18.6% and 4.2% increases. But with the rollout of a new product line and an overhaul of the incentive plan, Gander lost $9.7 million, versus a year-ago loss of $7.6 million.

On one hand, I'm willing to exercise patience with the company's larger loss, which was tied to an expansion of the PowerSport area in its stores, primarily the addition of a Tracker Marine line. As a result, the company's quarter included a 35-basis-point slide in its gross margin and a 20-basis-point hike in store operating expenses as a percentage of sales.

Just as Gander's quarter was mixed, the results reported recently by a host of retail companies have similarly made it difficult to find a clear trend. Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS), one of Gander's more direct competitors, reported a strong quarter, as did giant retailer Target (NYSE:TGT). Big 5 Sporting Goods (NASDAQ:BGFV) checked in with soft results, while Hibbett Sports hasn't yet reported.

For Gander Mountain, the initiatives of the past quarter can perhaps earn the company a very temporary pass for its weak bottom line. At the same time, with the company's same-store sales having inched upward in each of the past four consecutive quarters, it's high time for the bottom line a movement in the direction of a black bottom line. Gander's performance clearly has the market confused as well: Its share price has risen about 70% in a year, but has also fallen to about half its late spring high.

So it seems that Fools who might have an inkling about a position in Gander should go fishing and check back about this time next quarter. Another set of results will likely tell us whether this company deserves more of a gander.

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Fool contributor and avid fisherman David Lee Smith doesn't have positions in any of the companies mentioned. He does, however, welcome your emails. The Motley Fool operates under a strong disclosure policy.