Target's surprisingly positive preannouncement may have lifted retail stocks as investors wondered if their fears about the sector were overblown, but Jim Cramer remained skeptical.
"While Target's news flash is certainly good for Target and for its long-suffering shareholders, it's not necessarily good enough yet to ignite a sustainable rally in the group – and the emphasis is on the word 'sustainable' – especially when it was Target that had set the low bar to begin with," the "Mad Money" host said.
Despite Target's forecast, where management predicted positive same-store sales, better traffic and strong numbers for food and fashion, Cramer wondered whether the chain store's business was actually improving or if management purposely under-promised and over-delivered.
"We want companies in retail to get to better numbers via innovation, excitement, experiential, game-changing acquisitions. But other than Wal-Mart and Amazon, there really aren't that many that fill that bill. That's why I remain concerned longer term about retail," Cramer said. "You're getting a good trade here, but I think, because of Amazon, that's all it is: a trade, not an investment."
A Target spokeswoman told CNBC that while the retailer would let the press release stand on its own, the "broad-based" growth Target mentioned it saw was spread across products, and geographic locations, not any singular category.