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Retail stocks are slowly coming back after weeks in the doghouse, and CNBC's Jim Cramer wondered if one high-profile deal contributed to the bounce.
"Now that it looks like Nordstrom could soon be taken private by the Nordstrom family aided by the leveraged buyout guys at Leonard Green, will there be a re-valuation of all retailers in the stock market? " the "Mad Money " host asked.
But perhaps some retail stocks were already climbing. Two months ago, shares of Dollar Tree were $66. The stock has since climbed to $84, making Cramer question why Wall Street was so worried about Dollar Tree in the first place.
Or consider TJX Companies, one of Cramer's favorite retailers. The close-out merchandise seller's stock is still stuck in the low $70s after a good quarter with strong full-year guidance.
Cramer said TJX's new home furnishing initiative, HomeSense, paints a promising picture for the discount retailer's future.
"Given that it's opening another 100 HomeGoods stores, the company clearly expects no cannibalization. And it's not just a me-too Bed Bath & Beyond with cheaper stuff, either. It's better, with a quirky, general-store throwback feel, " the "Mad Money" host said.
"I wonder — I mean, honestly — could things be worse than last year or better?" Cramer said. "That's why this stock's extending its recent rally."
Cramer has also been pounding the table on Kohl's, a department store chain he considers to be an alternative strip mall play with true customer loyalty.
"How could you not like a company with a monster buyback, huge customer retention, inexpensive prices, a newfound love of brands like Nike and Under Armour, as well as, well, let's just throw it in, a 6 percent yield? " Cramer said.
So as more and more retail stocks begin to claw their way back upward, Cramer's watching closely to see who makes it out on top.
"The most important takeaway is you've got to recognize what Leonard Green, very smart guys, recognized: retail's not going away, it's just going to different places," he said. "Those stores that can handle one less trip to the mall each month will make it. They will. They'll stay in business and they will see their stocks increase in value. Perhaps not as far as you'd like, but in many cases, certainly further than they've already gone. I can't believe that I like this group."
Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of TJX Companies.