Reebok (NYSE:RBK) announced an upbeat first quarter today, delivering increased earnings and sales figures and beating analysts' estimates by a penny. The results are heartening, given a period last year when it posted some rather lackluster results.

For the quarter, Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick Reebok reported a 5% increase in earnings to $43 million, or $0.70 per share. Sales increased 11% to $925 million. The company's acquisition of The Hockey Company added a positive spin to sales, although it had a negative effect on earnings during the quarter. Going forward, Reebok said it believes it can grow earnings by 15% this year, with sales pegged in the mid-single-digit range.

On other notes, gross margin increased by 10 basis points to 40.3%, and cash decreased by 21% to $483.4 million. But anyone who wants to take a peek at the statement of cash flows will have to wait for the company to file its quarterly regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, since Reebok left those numbers out of the press release, as some companies are wont to do.

For those who, like Fool contributor Rich Smith, have been following the situation with Reebok's inventories and days sales outstanding, both continue to increase on a year-over-year basis. The company said that this time around, increases in inventories were related to the acquisition of The Hockey Company (excluding those effects, inventories decreased by 3%), while the increase in days sales outstanding is due to sales growth occurring in markets where these are higher than the company's average. Inventories increased 15%, and days sales outstanding increased to 59 from 51.

Of course, when gauging the situation over at Reebok, investors will probably want to look at the fortunes of rivals like Nike (NYSE:NKE). Indeed, Fool contributor David Meier recently asked whether sneaker powerhouse Nike is hitting its prime, and, of course, such thoughts reflect on the fortunes of other companies that compete in the industry.

When looking at the industry, though, you see certain trends that have helped to build up the market for companies like Reebok and Nike and their multitude of rivals, like Saucony (NASDAQ:SCNYA) (NASDAQ:SCNYB), K-Swiss (NASDAQ:KSWS), and so forth, and it's not just fashion -- although that has been an integral component of athletic footwear for years. Considering the current emphasis on the idea that sedentary people increasingly need to get off their duffs, there might be more reasons that consumers will want to peruse the ever-complicated selection of athletic shoes specially designed for various degrees of physical activity.

Despite its improving outlook over the past several months, Reebok is still trading at a P/E of a mere 14, with a forward P/E of 11. Nike, on the other hand, commands a trailing 12-month P/E of 18 and a forward P/E of 16. Given Reebok's strong brand name, solid performance, and the trends at hand, the stock seems worth a more in-depth look when compared with its archrival.

Reebok is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. To find out more about Tom and David Gardner's latest picks, try the service for six months, risk-free.

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.