Same-store sales in December at Zumiez increased 11.5% -- which would be impressive on its own, but bear in mind that December same-store sales increased a whopping 20.9% in December of last year. Zumiez's total sales surged 40.5% to $62.5 million.
One can only imagine Zumiez fans saying, "Eat your heart out, Pacific Sunwear
I recently reviewed Zumiez's entire 2006, so if you'd like to get a good idea of the company's results in 2006, be sure to check out that article. I also wondered if maybe one of Zumiez's competitive advantages might be the fact that it not only sells apparel by the usual suspects, such as Volcom
Regardless of whether my theory holds, though, it's obvious that Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick Zumiez has a lot going for it, given such a successful December, and on top of tough comparisons, as well. But -- and isn't there always a but -- it's worthwhile to note that as of this writing its shares are up about 10% in just two days. While existing shareholders certainly aren't complaining, maybe potential investors had better pause a minute before jumping in here. Zumiez trades at a rich P/E of 57 at the moment, and obviously that's a price some folks are willing to pay for the company's admittedly impressive -- and aggressive -- growth. On the other hand, my Foolish colleague David Meier recently took a look at the company's third quarter and dug out some red flags, like high but declining return on invested capital (ROIC).
I admit it, I'm intrigued by Zumiez and its high growth, and I like a lot of what I see, but I can't help but wonder if there might be a better opportunity to buy at less of a premium. Investor disappointment comes easily to high-growth (premium-priced) retailers like this one (just consider the second quarter, where Zumiez's profit doubled but it missed analysts' expectations, leading to the shares' downhill slide) and often means good opportunities for investors who wait and watch a while.
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Zumiez and Volcom are Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendations. Pacific Sunwear is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.