The following is a list of stocks from the retail industry. All of these stocks have low levels of risk, as defined by the RiskGrade ratings developed by the RiskMetrics Group. RiskGrades is calibrated to be more intuitive and easier to use than standard deviation or beta. According to the company, their rating system captures all the components of market risk: equity, interest rate, currency, and commodity risk.

The lower the RiskGrade rating, the lower the risk level of the stock. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), the first company in our list, has a RiskGrade rating of 50, which means that it is less risky than 95% of tickers on U.S. markets.

RiskGrades are calculated by comparing the current estimate of an asset's return volatility to the market-cap weighted average return volatility of a diverse set of international equity markets (the international basket) during normal market conditions.

We're not going to go into detailed analysis for each company. The goal here is to give a starting point to risk-averse investors looking to get into the retail industry. Full details below.

RiskGrades sourced from RiskMetrics group, short float and performance data sourced from Finviz.

*Interactive Chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the top six stocks mentioned below. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research. Note: The numbers on top of items represent the forward P/E ratio, if available.*

The list has been sorted by the RiskGrade score.

* 1. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT):* Discount, Variety Stores Industry. Market cap of $196.02B. RiskGrade rating at 50. Short float at 1.43%, which implies a short ratio of 2.37 days. The stock has gained 4.52% over the last year.

* 2. Costco Wholesale Corporation (NASDAQ:COST): *Discount, Variety Stores Industry. Market cap of $31.46B. RiskGrade rating at 69. Short float at 2.18%, which implies a short ratio of 3.06 days. The stock has gained 25.34% over the last year.

* 3. Sherwin-Williams Co. (NYSE:SHW): *Specialty Retail, Other Industry. Market cap of $8.97B. RiskGrade rating at 78. Short float at 4.99%, which implies a short ratio of 4.95 days. The stock has gained 42.17% over the last year.

* 4. Inergy, L.P. (NRGY):* Specialty Retail, Other Industry. Market cap of $4.92B. RiskGrade rating at 85. Short float at 0.4%, which implies a short ratio of 1.21 days. The stock has gained 19.08% over the last year.

* 5. Kohl's Corp. (NYSE:KSS):* Department Stores Industry. Market cap of $14.9B. RiskGrade rating at 88. Short float at 7.59%, which implies a short ratio of 4.02 days. The stock has lost -1.03% over the last year.

* 6. V.F. Corporation (NYSE:VFC):* Apparel Clothing Industry. Market cap of $9.01B. RiskGrade rating at 89. Short float at 6.28%, which implies a short ratio of 6.39 days. The stock has gained 14.41% over the last year.

* 7. Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE:NWL):* Housewares & Accessories Industry. Market cap of $5.12B. RiskGrade rating at 91. Short float at 5.1%, which implies a short ratio of 4.37 days. The stock has gained 18.15% over the last year.

* 8. Jarden Corp. (NYSE:JAH):* Housewares & Accessories Industry. Market cap of $3.03B. RiskGrade rating at 94. Short float at 2.36%, which implies a short ratio of 3.42 days. The stock has gained 5.33% over the last year.

* 9. PetSmart, Inc. (NASDAQ:PETM):* Specialty Retail, Other Industry. Market cap of $4.69B. RiskGrade rating at 94. Short float at 4.64%, which implies a short ratio of 5.02 days. The stock has gained 51.77% over the last year.

* 10. Ross Stores Inc. (NASDAQ:ROST): *Apparel Stores Industry. Market cap of $7.71B. RiskGrade rating at 97. Short float at 2.87%, which implies a short ratio of 2.44 days. The stock has gained 44.77% over the last year.

* 11. Wacoal Holdings Corp. (OTCQX:WACLY):* Apparel Stores Industry. Market cap of $1.94B. RiskGrade rating at 98. Short float at 0.03%, which implies a short ratio of 1.01 days. The stock has gained 13.54% over the last year.

* 12. The TJX Companies, Inc. (NYSE:TJX):* Department Stores Industry. Market cap of $18.5B. RiskGrade rating at 100. Short float at 1.98%, which implies a short ratio of 2.2 days. The stock has gained 25.01% over the last year.

* 13. Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE):* Apparel Footwear & Accessories Industry. Market cap of $40.03B. RiskGrade rating at 101. Short float at 1.29%, which implies a short ratio of 2.2 days. The stock has gained 32.33% over the last year.

* 14. Fred's Inc. (NASDAQ:FRED):* Discount, Variety Stores Industry. Market cap of $519.93M. RiskGrade rating at 103. Short float at 7.62%, which implies a short ratio of 17.62 days. The stock has gained 30.83% over the last year.

* 15. Luxottica Group SpA (NYSE:LUX)*: Specialty Retail, Other Industry. Market cap of $14.06B. RiskGrade rating at 103. Short float at 0.34%, which implies a short ratio of 3.47 days. The stock has gained 14.8% over the last year.

* 16. Wolverine World Wide Inc. (NYSE:WWW):* Apparel Footwear & Accessories Industry. Market cap of $1.53B. RiskGrade rating at 104. Short float at 4.23%, which implies a short ratio of 7.37 days. The stock has gained 17.13% over the last year.

* 17. Tractor Supply Company (NASDAQ:TSCO):* Specialty Retail, Other Industry. Market cap of $3.42B. RiskGrade rating at 105. Short float at 6.12%, which implies a short ratio of 7.38 days. The stock has gained 79.14% over the last year.

* 18. Blount International Inc. (NYSE:BLT)*: Housewares & Accessories Industry. Market cap of $744.57M. RiskGrade rating at 108. Short float at 2.39%, which implies a short ratio of 5.27 days. The stock has gained 39.87% over the last year.

* 19. Staples, Inc. (NASDAQ:SPLS):* Specialty Retail, Other Industry. Market cap of $16.55B. RiskGrade rating at 109. Short float at 2.16%, which implies a short ratio of 2.1 days. The stock has lost -6.19% over the last year.

* 20. Target Corp. (NYSE:TGT):* Discount, Variety Stores Industry. Market cap of $38.61B. RiskGrade rating at 113. Short float at 1.46%, which implies a short ratio of 1.72 days. The stock has gained 6.5% over the last year.

**Disclosure: **I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.