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TheStreet Open House

Is the Retail Sector About to Rebound?

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The retail sector has been getting destroyed. Decimated. No body wants to have anything to do with it. In my recent article, Bricks and Mortar Died. Where Did it Go?, I detailed the major shift that has occurred in how consumers are shopping. But everything has a price, and at some point, it becomes too cheap to pass up on. 

Seasonally, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) does well in the February through April time period. That time period has been positive for the ETF each of the past five years. 

Trivia question: Which year provided the worst performance during that period in the past five years?

Surprising to say, 2013 was actually the worst period, despite the ETF appreciating a whopping 40% in the year. Here's a look at the past five years: 

In fact, each year since 2009 the ETF has actually performed worse and worse. But who cares? 8.80% is the worst return for the fund in the three month stretch between February and April. On an annualized basis, that's a 35% return. Even if it only returned 4% to 5% in that period, that's still a solid return for three months of work. 

For all the other years, the ETF appreciated by a double digit percentage. Year-to-date, the ETF is off 9%, which increases the odds that it could rally higher in the coming months, especially as we approach the beginning of February. 

But there's a lot of doubt regarding an impending rally. Individual stocks -- like Best Buy (BBY), Coach (COH), Lululemon Athletica (LULU), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Sears Holdings (SHLD) -- have already reported or pre-announced less than acceptable results. 

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