Despite the surprisingly strong earnings results from a number of retailers Thursday, the market's reaction is a letdown. The broader indices are just about flat, but have given up their morning gains despite the 2.05% gain in the SPDR S&P Retail (ETF) (XRT) .

"I'm disappointed in this market," TheStreet's founder Jim Cramer, who also manages the Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio, said on CNBC's "Stop Trading" segment, adding that he thought the retail sector could carry stocks higher.

Names like Tiffany & Co. (TIF) , Dollar Tree Inc. (DLTR) and Signet Jewelers (SIG) are all higher on the day, although some have been volatile. Specifically, though, Cramer took a closer look at Michaels Cos. (MIK) , which is off the highs of the day, but still up 13% Thursday.

Beyond just topping earnings and revenue estimates, retailers need to be a part of three key themes to get their stocks moving higher, Cramer said. Those themes include having a good omni-channel, providing consumers with an experience, and having a perception of value to customers.

Those are the three themes needed to hold off Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) , he reasoned. Otherwise, they're toast. Michaels has those themes and, therefore, its stock is trading higher on the day.

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At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had no position in any companies mentioned.

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