Retail-StocksThe great outdoors are back—big time.

Among retail stocks, it was widely expected that Cabela’s Incorporated (NYSE/CAB) would report very good earnings results. But the company didn’t just announce good earnings—it hit a grand slam.

Cabela’s is the world’s largest direct marketer of hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoors merchandise. It is one of those retail stocks that is implementing its business plan perfectly.

It currently has 41 stores in the U.S. and three in Canada, totaling 5.4-million square feet of retail space, up 5.8% since the end of 2012.

According to the company, its sales for the first quarter of 2013 grew to $802 million, representing a gain of $179 million, or 29%, over the comparable quarter.

Not surprisingly, the company’s hunting equipment category experienced the biggest increase in sales.

The company said that its comparable store sales increased 24%, which is an outstanding performance in retail merchandising.

First-quarter earnings grew 73% to $49.8 million, way up from earnings of $28.8 million. Earnings per diluted share grew 75% to $0.70 from $0.40 in the comparable quarter.

Cabela’s five-year stock chart is featured below:

Chart courtesy of

While the sale of firearms and ammunition was expected to be strong, what was notable about Cabela’s first-quarter earnings performance is the strength experienced in other categories.

The company said it experienced strong growth in the sale of soft goods, footwear, optics, and archery. Excluding firearms and ammunition, comparable store sales increased nine percent, which is impressive. (See “Tills Ringing for Costco, Cabela’s—Obama Effect or Big New Trend?”)

As is the case with many corporations today, Cabela’s cash balance leaped to $364 million, more than doubling its cash balance of $157 million at the end of the first quarter of 2012.

In the universe of retail stocks, Cabela’s is referred to as a specialty merchandiser.

If you ever consider investing in retail stocks, a specialty merchandiser can offer the potential for greater capital gains, because customers tend to be brand-loyal.

Cabela’s has basically doubled on the stock market over the last few years, and given its recent earnings results, it is not expensively priced.

Wall Street analysts boosted the company’s earnings expectations for this year and 2014. With the stock at an all-time record high, there has been quite a bit of insider selling.

Like the rest of the stock market, many retail stocks have done exceedingly well lately. It is a group that has been mostly ticking higher since the recession.

Similarly, retail stocks are very much due for a break. But the momentum can continue as consumer confidence remains elevated.

Without question, Cabela’s first quarter was a huge success.