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Retail has been tough sledding this year, but some have been able to escape the carnage. One stock that's held up is Big Lots (BIG) - Get Big Lots Inc. Report . Shares are up about 10% over the past year and investors are hoping it's able to move higher when the company reports earnings on Friday before the bell.

Big Lots is a discount retailer and discount stores have outperformed department stores so far, TheStreet's Jim Cramer, manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, said from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday.

While it may be true that Big Lots could be setting up for a good quarter, Cramer is drawn elsewhere. Instead, he would rather buy Burlington Stores (BURL) - Get Burlington Stores Inc. Report , which just delivered an earnings beat and offered higher guidance.

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Even with Thursday's 6% rally, Cramer said he prefers Burlington over Big Lots. He also prefers TJX Companies (TJX) - Get TJX Companies Inc. (The) Report , which is a holding in the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio.

TJX is "setting up for a really, really good quarter," Cramer said, adding that he likes the stock at current levels and is adding to the position in the portfolio.

Analysts expect Big Lots to earn 99 cents per share on $1.31 billion in revenue for the most recent quarter.

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in TJX.