After spending much of the past several months at a less-than-impressive two-star rank, Dick's Sporting Goods (NYSE: DKS) has impressed enough top-performing members of our 160,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community to climb back up to a more respectable three-star level. A total of 408 members have given their opinion on the sporting goods retailer, with many of them offering analysis and commentary explaining the recent optimism.

With sales climbing and an upbeat outlook for this year, investors have recently grown more bullish on the performance of Dick's Sporting Goods. The retail environment may still have some risk as consumers are still cautious with their spending, but Dick's saw an 11% uptick in sales in its fiscal fourth quarter. With retailers like Home Depot (NYSE: HD) and behemoth Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) posting falling same-store sales in the U.S., and Target (NYSE: TGT) and Big 5 Sporting Goods each inching their comps slightly higher in their recent quarters, many investors were pleased with Dick's 2.5% increase. And customers haven't only been visiting its brick-and-mortar stores to purchase the latest Under Armour (NYSE: UA) or Nike (NYSE: NKE) gear -- the company also attributes healthy online sales to the recent uptick in business.     

Dick's Sporting Goods swung back into the black in the fourth quarter, posting a Wall Street-topping $0.56 per share on the bottom line, a much better showing than the big drop in fourth-quarter earnings reported by fellow outdoor sports retailer Cabela's (NYSE: CAB). And the company expects the trend to continue by announcing double-digit earnings growth and positive operating cash flow in 2010. Dick's also opened up 24 new stores in 2009 and looks to open at least that number again this year, in addition to approximately five of its Golf Galaxy stores. With that kind of optimism and growing name recognition in sporting retail, no wonder more bullish CAPS members see a good long-term outlook for the company.  

Do you think Dick's Sporting Goods deserves its raised status? Add your thoughts in the comments box below on this page, or head over to CAPS to rate the company and check out all the information and opinions the community offers, absolutely free.

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Fool contributor Dave Mock recently upgraded his remote control with a signal booster that will work even if he needs to turn the volume up from the kitchen. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. The Home Depot and Wal-Mart are Inside Value picks. Under Armour is a Rule Breakers choice. Under Armour is a Hidden Gems recommendation. The Fool owns shares of Under Armour. The Fool's disclosure policy is officially done with the rain and ready for spring.