The weather outside may be frightful, but inside Pacific Sunwear (NASDAQ:PSUN), the quarterly reports are delightful. The surf and skate apparel retailer's healthy holiday showing included a 26% jump in earnings per share during its January quarter, while sales inched 16% higher.

Having earned $1.37 a share over the course of its fiscal year prices the stock at less than 20 times earnings. That's certainly a fair price of admission for a company that is growing its bottom line at a richer clip than that rate while sporting a lively surge in popularity at the store level.

Its empire of PacSun and d.e.m.o. stores continued to produce after the quarter was over; same-store sales were up an impressive 10.5% for February. That leaves the company comfortable with Wall Street's targets of $0.23 a share in profits for the April quarter -- more than twice what it produced a year earlier. The company has been aggressively buying back its shares over the past year, and with its prospects improving with every passing quarter, it proved to be a great move.

Sure, the mall can be a tricky place. Perhaps it's why Peter Lynch was always armed with his wife and daughters when he went to scout out new stock ideas in the topsy-turvy world of retail.

It's not easy for mainstream retailers, so you can only imagine how tough it is for specialty retailers catering to teens. So how do you avoid the stumbling Hot Topic (NASDAQ:HOTT) and Wet Seal (NASDAQ:WTSLA) while cashing in on winners like Aeropostale (NYSE:ARO), Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN), or American Eagle Outfitters (NASDAQ:AEOS)?

Following comps is usually a pretty good indicator. As long as its not margin-busting clearance sales driving sales higher at the store level, you know you're on to a good concept if same-store sales keep inching up.

Three's also an interesting trend at play. After nailing analyst estimates -- exactly -- for seven straight quarters, Pacific Sunwear has topped Wall Street's forecasts over the past five periods.

If you're concerned that the company is fine with the current quarter's forecast, meaning that it will fail to lap that target for a sixth straight outing, take a load off. Back in January, the company indicated that it was comfortable with analysts' fourth-quarter estimates before besting that sum by a penny per share last night.

So, no, it's probably not a good thing to buy into an edgy specialty retailer and then just doze off. Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF) has had more ups and downs than a stadium full of people doing the wave. Yet there are times when a specialty retailer is doing so well that an investor can afford to take a breather for a few months. That would apply to PacSun right now. Its shoppers are more interested in hitting the waves than making them.

Want to surf some more? Sure!

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoys the mall -- even the food court. He does not own shares in any companies mentioned in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.