Women's clothing specialist bebe (NASDAQ:BEBE) continues its scorching pace. The company announced third-quarter earnings that doubled to $11.1 million, or $0.18 per share, compared with the year-ago quarter. Net sales soared 39.7% over the year to $116.9 million, and same-store sales jumped 28.5% for the same quarter. As if that last number weren't strong enough on its own, it was up against last year's remarkable comps sales, which increased 16.7%.

OK, so that's a plethora of impressive data. Without a doubt, bebe has been on a tear for some time, and it reached new levels in the most recent quarter. So, then, why am I not buying it?

I simply don't think it's possible for bebe to keep up its recent pace. That's it. However, that's important, because at its recent price, it would have to keep growing to make it worth purchasing. The company's trailing P/E of 44 and forward P/E of 35 mean that any slowdown in earnings growth would make it difficult to justify such a lofty price. Prospective long-term investors should also consider the very fickle nature of retailers' revenue stream, since they are very much exposed to consumers' changing tastes.

Not only does the company expect earnings to slow down to more reasonable levels, but also its estimates have it coming in below what analysts are predicting. Now, Fools may not put too much stock in what analysts are estimating, but you can be sure the stock will suffer if earnings come up short.

The company expects to earn between $0.17 and $0.20 per share next quarter. At worst, that would represent 13% growth over last year and, at best, 33% growth. That's a significant range, but neither approaches the 100% expectation that growth investors might well have embedded into the stock's current price.

It was an interesting day for bebe's stock. Having jumped by more than 4.2% during the day, shares have subsequently dropped close to 10%. I think the naysayers made the more appropriate move. For those who've owned the stock over the past year, it's been a great investment, but I just can't see buying in at this stage.

For related news, see Stephen Simpson's "Oh Bebe!"

Fool contributor Mike Cianciolo welcomes feedback and doesn't own shares of bebe.