That $293 million buyout offer for Pacific Sunwear (NASDAQ:PSUN) from Adrenalina is looking pretty good these days, huh?

Well, maybe not, considering the three-store chain has scant financing to put the deal together, let alone the dubious history of its CEO. More to the point, though, PacSun was able to narrow its loss for the quarter even as sales continued to take it on the chin. Add in an analyst saying the surf-and-skate crowd retailer can probably survive as a going concern and presto! You've got a viable investment again.

The upheaval that wrenched the markets in September and October was unprecedented in recent years. While the financial markets tottered, consumers basically shut down their spending. Was that the cause of or a response to the drama? I tend to lean more toward the latter. If you unsure whether Western civilization is on the precipice of collapse, that Element t-shirt your teen is eyeing doesn't quite seem so important.

The waters aren't calm yet, but with the Christmas season approaching, I think corporate management is taking a prudently cautious outlook. PacSun, for example, is forecasting high single-digit declines in same-store sales. Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) is expecting a 26% drop in comps, making it the worst holiday season in 18 years. And Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), which has been a relative beacon of hope, will be coming up against difficult comps numbers, which has some analysts thinking it's poised for a fall.

Yet I like PacSun here for a number of reasons. While some competitors, like Volcom (NASDAQ:VLCM), look insanely cheap, and others like Gap (NYSE:GPS) are far from compelling, on a number of metrics PacSun also seems like a steal. With shares trading near historical lows, it's valued at a fraction of its quarterly sales, it trades at just a fourth of its book value, and the retailer's enterprise value is just 1.4 times EBITDA. Management is also wisely reining in new capital expenditures and has a fairly clean balance sheet.

Until the economy began to tank in earnest in 2007, PacSun had been able to grow revenues at a five-year compounded annual growth rate of 18% while profits grew at 26%. Admittedly, since the close of 2006, they've pretty much been shredded, and getting out of the current economic malaise is obviously the first priority. Once achieved, however, a leaner PacSun ought to be able to return to its profit-making ways.

When a stock has lost 90% of its value over much of the past year, it's difficult to believe the investment thesis can still hold. As a shareholder, I've ridden this one all the way down, but have not considered selling; this appears to be a retail story that can still ride the next wave.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.