Retail stocks are turning a new leaf in the new year.
After ending 2018 with their worst quarter since 2008, the group has rallied more than 6 percent since the first trading day of the year. Craig Johnson, chief market technician at Piper Jaffray, believes that the retail move is "a bounce that we can trust" and thinks that the retail-tracking ETF (XRT) could actually return to a key level in the charts.
"We have corrected about 28 percent from peak to trough, we had a nice relief rally, and now we're reaching a very important inflection point," he said Monday on CNBC's "Trading Nation. "
The inflection point Johnson refers to is the recent reversal from retail's December low. "If we see a move further from here, you can see quite a nice move back up to the 200-day moving average," he added.
The XRT's 200-day moving average currently sits at around $47.53. This means Johnson believes a 9 percent rally is possible, which would take retail back to mid-November levels.
Additionally, Johnson said that while smaller retail names like Five Below and Stitch Fix have surged, more "defensive names" like Dollar Tree are also "reversing longer-term downtrends." This leads Johnson to believe that many retail stocks could actually see 10 to 15 percent upside.
Gina Sanchez, CEO of Chantico Global, believes that "the consumer is healthy here," which is positive for retail. However, Sanchez also warns that there are a number of underlying factors that could still hit the group.
Namely, Sanchez thinks wage growth could be a "double-edged sword" for retail. While she does believe that it is ultimately a strong sign for the group, she also expects that "underlying costs are also going to go up for retail," along with earnings growth that may pare or go flat.
But ultimately, Sanchez believes the consumer landscape could be a boon for retail.
After closing up 3 percent Monday, retail stocks were down slightly Tuesday.