Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of fashion retailer The Buckle (NYSE: BKE) were looking spiffy today as they rose as much as 12% in intraday trading.

So what: From the "better than the very low expectations" file came today's sales reports from U.S. retailers. While analysts were looking for weak numbers, most companies, including Costco (Nasdaq: COST) and Limited Brands (NYSE: LTD), blew away expectations. The beleaguered Gap (NYSE: GPS) was one of the few that missed expectations as it posted a 10% drop in same-store sales.

And what of Buckle? Analysts were expecting the chain to show a same-store sales decline of 1.2%, and they weren't even close. Sales for stores open at least a year for the five weeks ending April 2 were up 8.4%.

Now what: Could the death of the consumer just be an ugly rumor? Today's numbers from around the retail world make it look like they're at least giving it a Rocky-like effort ("Get up ... 'cause Mickey loves ya!"). As for Buckle, the sales numbers are certainly a good sign, but it's hard to take away too much from a single five-week snapshot. Investors are currently paying roughly 15 times forward earnings for the stock, which is probably a pretty reasonable price if the company is really finding some more fuel in its growth engine.

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Costco Wholesale is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Costco Wholesale is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Costco Wholesale and Limited Brands. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not have a financial interest in any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.