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 department store operator Dillard's (NYSE: DDS) climbed 15% on Friday after its quarterly results easily topped Wall Street expectations.

So what: Driven by higher-than-expected sales and a joint venture-related gain, the company's first-quarter profit surged 57% to $76.7 million, or $1.31 per share, versus the average analyst estimate of just $0.91 per share. The shares are now up more than 100% over the past year, as Dillard's margins and, more importantly, its balance sheet, have continued to show steady improvement.

Now what: I'd be cautious about chasing the stock at this point. While the sector is certainly seeing a nice sales rebound -- Macy's (NYSE: M) and Kohl's (NYSE: KSS) also reported market-topping quarters this week -- department stores still don't strike me as an ideal long-term hold. With Dillard's in particular now sporting a forward P/E of 16, it's tough to consider it a dirt cheap turnaround play, either.

Interested in more info on Dillard's? Add it to your watchlist.

Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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