Updated from 9 a.m. with Jim Cramer's comments.
Shares of Skechers (SKX - Get Report) were soaring by more than 21% to $28.32 on Friday after the athletic footwear company last night reported better-than-expected revenue and comparable-store sales for the fourth quarter.
Revenue climbed 5.8% to $764.3 million over last year and beat analysts' estimates of $723.7 million. Comparable-store sales rose 3.6%, while analysts had forecast flat results.
The quarterly growth was primarily due to a 17.1% jump in the company's international wholesale business, led by China, with an increase of 48.5%, Skechers said.
But earnings of 4 cents a share were below analysts' projections of 10 cents a share.
While earnings may have missed, the company still "reported a very good quarter," TheStreet's Jim Cramer, co-manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said on CNBC's "Stop Trading" segment.
The Chinese business carried Skechers' results, as its domestic results weren't wildly impressive, Cramer remarked. With more than 500 locations in China, Skechers has developed a lot of strength in that country, he said.
Skechers' previous quarter was weak, Cramer said, and a lot of investors either dumped the stock or sold it short. Cramer said that now those investors are feeling the pain.
For their part, Wells Fargo analysts said the fourth-quarter sales beat and upcoming product launches spurred optimism.
"SKX Q4 earnings print and earnings call were standouts for their upbeat tone (during what has proven to be one of the more dour earnings seasons for the group in recent memory)," the analysts said in a note on Friday.
As expected, the challenging wholesale environment led to a miss domestically, but better-than-anticipated retail comps and international growth led to one of the few revenue beats this past quarter, the analysts noted.
"The main 4Q report takeaway is Skechers fundamentals are poised to get better. Bulls believe SKX's product cycle has troughed and today's news likely reinforces this view," Morgan Stanley analysts commented. The fourth-quarter results are also positive for global athletic footwear stocks, according to the analysts.
Skechers had mid-single-digit growth in January and high-single-digit growth so far in February on a global basis, which is a quarter-over-quarter acceleration, the firm noted. Even in the U.S., broadly speaking, February to date has had a noticeable sales trend uptick, while Puma just said global fourth-quarter results were "solid."
"We believe these are good signs for Nike (NKE - Get Report) and Foot Locker (FL - Get Report) , although not necessarily Under Armour (UA - Get Report) since it is more levered to apparel," Morgan Stanley analysts said.
But Wedbush analyst Christopher Svezia lowered his estimates for Skechers following the report. While the company posted better sales and gross margin, it missed on earnings due to much higher operating expenses.
"While we are pleased to see continued growth internationally and apparently improving trends in the US, these are coming at a much higher cost, resulting in greater deleverage and risk to the story should growth slow similar to 2H16," Svezia said in a note.
He believes retailers are being cautious as sales have been more mixed in the near term than what Skechers is currently seeing in its own direct-to-consumer channels.