Jim Cramer: What People Buy Can Tell You a Lot About Retail Stocks

NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Sometimes all you need to do is figure out what goods people are buying in order to make money in the stock market.

This is one of those times.

I want to start by revealing a methodology I developed a long time ago when I was a hedge fund manager trying to figure out how to come up with new investments that were off the beaten track but had tailwinds behind them that others might not know. We are in the heart of retail reporting season, a moment where many big retailers report and tell you what's selling and what's not.

My goal during this period was twofold: what trends stand out as investable so I can pick stocks within that trend, and what companies are doing so well vs. their stocks that I want to buy them.

So let's take a snapshot of the last 24 hours of reports and try to put a mosaic together that yields an idea or two -- or more -- that just might work out.

First, let's start with a disturbing report from Urban Outfitters  (URBN). Here's a chain made up of Free People for teens; Anthropologie, offering eclectic housewares, clothing and accessories; and Urban Outfitters, a clothing and knickknack store that is the flagship of the chain.

Here's a company that has been experiencing a huge turnaround. At one time or another, one or two of the divisions always seemed to be failing to deliver. However, late last year the stars aligned and all divisions began to have terrific growth.

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