It's been a tough year for Target (TGT) stock, which is down more than 17% so far on the year. Could that pain worsen when the company reports quarterly earnings on Wednesday before the open.

"I think they have a lot of good, proprietary clothing," TheStreet's Jim Cramer said from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday. With that said, though, Target could react like Macy's (M) -- which actually had an OK quarter based on its capital structure.

Macy's stock initially went higher after beating on earnings estimates, only to get knocked lower. Target could do the same thing, he reasoned.

Retail as a sector continues to struggle. Not only do retailers have to combat Amazon (AMZN) and other e-commerce solutions, but the good ones have to fight off the forces of the ETF, Cramer said.

What does that mean? Because so many investors use ETFs to gain exposure to a group of stocks, the buying and selling of the ETFs can impact the stocks, even if they don't deserve to be bought or sold. In this instance, even the good retailers are struggling as investors continue to sell retail ETFs, like the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT) .

Some, like Home Depot (HD) , can fend off Amazon. The company should do well as rebuilds in Texas and Florida bring in shoppers and contractors, Cramer said, adding that many prefer to shop at Home Depot vs. order online. Others, like Walmart (WMT) , can fight Amazon.

"I'm not saying I'm sanguine about retail, I am saying I'm sanguine about certain retailers," he added.

Despite the few positives, there's a whole lot of retailers that will continue to struggle. So should investors buy Target? Cramer said he is not a buyer, citing the TJX Companies (TJX) position in the Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust portfolio, which Jim Cramer manages.

TJX Companies is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells TJX? Learn more now.

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

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