American consumers have gotten picky with their purchases -- and when they do buy something, they've gotten used to spending less.
So which retail stocks are adhering to the new consumer reality?
Jim Cramer has made a case for five retail stocks -- Costco (COST) - Get Report , Dollar General (DG) - Get Report , Dollar Tree (DLTR) - Get Report , TJX (TJX) - Get Report and Walmart (WMT) - Get Report -- that are "doing fabulously" amid this new reality.
"When you combine these places with Amazon (AMZN) - Get Report and the shopping platform it has, you can understand very clearly what is happening in this nation," Cramer wrote in a Real Moneycolumn on Thursday.
"Let me set the stage. Over the course of the last few years we have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of a family's income going to intractable costs, namely rent, which continues to plow higher, and health care, which, because of the Affordable Care Act and the escalating cost, just crushes the American worker," Cramer said.
"What's left is not made up by gasoline prices being low, hence why that dividend didn't amount to much. It was totally offset by these costs coupled with stagnant wages, courtesy of globalization, digitization and a surfeit of labor," he added.
In this type of environment, consumers are resorting to very specific retailers -- namely bargain stores and those seen as offering discounts.
That said, the stock prices of these winners have already reflected the changing consumer. Cramer says not to "chase" these stocks.
"There will be a market-led downturn someday where I think you can get better prices," he wrote. "But these trends are here to stay and you should recognize as investors that they represent the only real bargains on Wall Street, just as they are on Main Street."
Here are some thoughts that Cramer had on each retail stock.