Buckle In With this Retailer

'Tis the season for retailers' holiday sales. However, investors can also look for major bargains right now in retail, and here's one example: Buckle's (NYS: BKE) gone on sale.

This youthful teen retail stock's taken a bit of a beating from its recent highs. In the last year, Buckle's shares had risen to around $48, but they're now trading at less than $40. The retailer took a drubbing after its most recent quarterly tidings, which is, in a word, bizarre. Buckle increased its third-quarter net income by 11% to $38.3 million, or $0.81 per share. Sales rose a healthy 12% to $273.4 million, and same-store sales surged by 9%.

This is great performance in the current economic climate, and those results even beat analysts' expectations, but still, apparently that wasn't good enough for many investors. Nor was Buckle's 6.9% increase in same-store sales in November.

There's a lot to like about Buckle, including some lesser-known initiatives that help it compete with retail rivals like Abercrombie & Fitch (NYS: ANF) , American Eagle Outfitters (NYS: AEO) , Aeropostale (NYS: ARO) , Wet Seal, and the rest of the bevy of teen retail rivals. For example, on a straight-up customer service level, Buckle offers extremely friendly perks like layaway as well as free hemming and gift wrapping . This customer-centric attitude surely helps lure repeat traffic.

Buckle consistently keeps its youthful clientele coming back for more by intentionally stocking clothing that's different than that of rivals, building cred with fashion-forward young people. It carefully monitors its merchandise to track what's working for its customers (and to limit what's not), offering major high-end brands like Guess? (NYS: GES) , Fossil (NAS: FOSL) , Urban Outfitters' (NAS: URBN) Free People, 7 For All Mankind, and others (as well as its own BKE brands).

If many investors have unbuckled themselves from Buckle recently, they're missing out on the big long-term picture regarding a very well-run retailer. As for the current opportunity, Buckle's trading at just 12 times forward earnings -- about in line with the multiples attached to rivals like the ones noted above -- and a PEG ratio of a reasonable 1.12. Meanwhile, its current share price weakness seems detached from the reality of its recent impressive financial performance, making this stock a great bargain right now.

In other words, it's a great time to buckle down with Buckle. I've had a long-standing outperform CAPScall on Buckle on my CAPS page, and I'm keeping that thumbs-up in place for the long haul.

Here's an easy way to keep up with the ever-changing, fickle retail universe:

At the time thisarticle was published

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