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Jim Cramer's post on retail appeared Wednesday on RealMoney. Click here for a free trial, and enjoy incisive commentary all day, every day.

The most maligned industry out there might be retail. No matter what happens to the companies, people think the news is bad. These people are stuck in the past.

In the past few days, we have had fabulous reports from

VF Corp

(VFC) - Get V.F. Corporation Report


Perry Ellis

(PERY) - Get Perry Ellis International, Inc. Report

(mentioned in the

columnist conversation) and

Phillips Van Heusen

(PVH) - Get PVH Corp. Report

. These three pretty much run the full spectrum in clothing retail. But

The North Face



TheStreet Recommends


Perry Ellis

seem to mean nothing to people.

To me, they are terrific barometers. So is

Jones Apparel


, another company that last week reported a nifty quarter, which was obscured by some one-time hits.


(DRI) - Get Darden Restaurants, Inc. Report


Whole Foods

( WFMI) are two other plays I consider quintessentially retail. Whole Foods in itself is a sign of a healthy consumer because it is as expensive as all getout to go there; yet, its take-home business is booming. But it isn't

so booming

that it's hurting the Olive Gardens and the Red Lobsters of the world.

Or, consider





(CMG) - Get Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. Report



(CAKE) - Get Cheesecake Factory Incorporated Report

. These are moderately priced places, and you could argue that strength there doesn't mean much. I say, "Wait a second, these places saw slowdowns when things got tough; the slowdown is over."

Speaking of places that saw slowdowns, how about

Abercrombie & Fitch

(ANF) - Get Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Class A Report

, the quintessential overpriced teen retailer? Even this company has its act together now.

I can throw in a whole bunch that haven't recently reported,


(TIF) - Get Tiffany & Co. Report



(JWN) - Get Nordstrom, Inc. Report

being the best examples.

Also, do you think we would get all of those upgrades of

Home Depot

(HD) - Get Home Depot, Inc. Report

if business wasn't improving? How about that great recent number from


(COST) - Get Costco Wholesale Corporation Report

, which is propelling that stock up nicely?

The simple conclusion: Retail is alive and well. Once again, because unemployment is high, we dismiss it, or we say it is an unimportant time of the year, or that a calendar shift helped the results.

I say, give me a break. Things are better. That's all there is to it.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Costco and Home Depot. Jim Cramer, co-founder and chairman of, writes daily market commentary for's RealMoney and runs the charitable trust portfolio,

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. He also participates in video segments on TV and serves as host of CNBC's "Mad Money" television program.

Mr. Cramer graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College, where he was president of The Harvard Crimson. He worked as a journalist at the Tallahassee Democrat and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, covering everything from sports to homicide before moving to New York to help start American Lawyer magazine. After a three-year stint, Mr. Cramer entered Harvard Law School and received his J.D. in 1984. Instead of practicing law, however, he joined Goldman Sachs, where he worked in sales and trading. In 1987, he left Goldman to start his own hedge fund. While he worked at his fund, Mr. Cramer helped start Smart Money for Dow Jones and then, in 1996, he co-founded, of which he is chairman and where he has served as a columnist and contributor since. In 2000, Mr. Cramer retired from active money management to embrace media full time, including radio and television.

Mr. Cramer is the author of "

Confessions of a Street Addict

," "You Got Screwed," "Jim Cramer's Real Money," "Jim Cramer's Mad Money," "Jim Cramer's Stay Mad for Life" and, most recently, "Jim Cramer's Getting Back to Even." He has written for Time magazine and New York magazine and has been featured on CBS' 60 Minutes, NBC's Nightly News with Brian Williams, Meet the Press, Today, The Tonight Show, Late Night and MSNBC's Morning Joe.