Bank of America has a complete breakdown of how to trade retail stocks through the pandemic

A customer pays for her groceries after shopping at a Walmart store ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in Chicago.
Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters

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A partial reopening of the economy is boosting investor sentiment, with certain retailers set to benefit from the first wave of consumers emerging from the coronavirus crisis. 

However, uncertainty around a treatment or vaccine for Covid-19 and government protocols, is keeping several possible scenarios in play — each with a chance to boost different retail stocks. 

Bank of America looked across its coverage at the exposure to the pandemic, the economic slowdown and the pace that it believes companies are likely to participate in the recovery. The Wall Street firm came up with four buckets of retail stocks for four different scenarios. 

  • Bucket 1: Stores remain closed
  • Bucket 2: Stores re-open but with severe social distancing limits in place
  • Bucket 3: Stores re-open, but there's a deep sustained recession
  • Bucket 4: Return to "normalization" and consumers rebound

Here's how to play each of the possible outcomes.