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For a look at the retail industry, consider what institutional investors like hedge fund managers are buying.

We created a universe of about 130 stocks from the retail industry and screened for those that have seen the most net purchases from institutional investors over the current quarter.

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.‬


We also created a price-weighted index of the stocks mentioned below and monitored the performance of the list relative to the S&P 500 index over the last month. To access a complete analysis of this list's recent performance, click here.

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Institutional investors clearly believe in these names – do you? Use this list as a starting point for your own analysis.

List sorted by net institutional purchases as a percent of share float.

1. Titan Machinery, Inc. (NASDAQ:TITN): Operates a network of full service agricultural and construction equipment stores in the United States. Market cap of $496.13M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 2.9M, which is 18.3% of the company's 15.85M share float. The stock has had a good month, gaining 28.96%.

2. Perry Ellis International Inc. (NASDAQ:PERY): Engages in designing, sourcing, marketing and licensing apparel products for men and women in the United States and internationally. Market cap of $402.29M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.8M, which is 15.83% of the company's 11.37M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.14). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 13.48% (equivalent to 10.21 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 17.88%.

3. rue21, Inc. (NASDAQ:RUE): Operates as a specialty apparel retailer in the United States. Market cap of $612.97M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.7M, which is 12.78% of the company's 13.30M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 24.23% (equivalent to 13.83 days of average volume). It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 5.93% over the last week.

4. Body Central Corp. (OTCQB:BODY): Operates as a specialty retailer of young women's apparel and accessories in the South, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions of the United States. Market cap of $336.07M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.6M, which is 11.41% of the company's 14.02M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 8.03% (equivalent to 5.96 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 15.79%.

5. OfficeMax Incorporated (NYSE:OMX): Distributes business-to-business and retail office products. Market cap of $434.04M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 9.2M, which is 10.85% of the company's 84.79M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.53). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 18.24% (equivalent to 6.07 days of average volume). The stock has lost 72.23% over the last year.

6. Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE:ANF): Operates as a specialty retailer of casual apparel for men, women and kids. Market cap of $5.07B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 7.3M, which is 8.51% of the company's 85.80M share float. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 17.08% below its SMA20, 12.33% below its SMA50, and 10.43% below its SMA200. It has been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 21.63% over the last week.

7. The Jones Group Inc. (NYSE:JNY): Engages in the design, marketing and wholesale of apparel, footwear and accessories in the United States and Canada. Market cap of $1.04B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 5.4M, which is 7.56% of the company's 71.42M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.93). The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 8.5% over the last week.

8. Guess? Inc. (NYSE:GES): Engages in the design, marketing, distribution and licensing of apparel and accessories for men, women and children. Market cap of $2.92B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 6.0M, which is 7.92% of the company's 75.72M share float. The stock has lost 19.54% over the last year.

9. PriceSmart Inc. (NASDAQ:PSMT): Operates warehouse clubs in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Market cap of $2.24B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.4M, which is 7.4% of the company's 18.92M share float. The stock has gained 149.42% over the last year.

10. Charming Shoppes Inc. (NASDAQ:CHRS): Operates as a specialty apparel retailer primarily for women in the United States. Market cap of $400.66M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 7.0M, which is 6.89% of the company's 101.61M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 3.45). The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 16.84% (equivalent to 8.09 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 29.81%.

11. Crocs, Inc. (NASDAQ:CROX): Engages in the design, development, manufacture, marketing and distribution of footwear, apparel and accessories for men, women and children. Market cap of $1.58B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 5.7M, which is 6.43% of the company's 88.65M share float. The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 11.26% below its SMA20, 26.18% below its SMA50, and 21.24% below its SMA200. The stock has performed poorly over the last month, losing 30.94%.

12. Urban Outfitters Inc. (NASDAQ:URBN): Operates lifestyle specialty retail stores under the Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, Free People, Terrain, Leifsdottir and BHLDN brands. Market cap of $4.19B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 6.7M, which is 6.43% of the company's 104.27M share float. The stock has had a good month, gaining 16.83%.

13. Iconix Brand Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:ICON): Operates as a brand management company that engages in licensing, marketing and providing trend direction for a portfolio of owned consumer brands. Market cap of $1.31B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 3.9M, which is 6.05% of the company's 64.49M share float. The stock is a short squeeze candidate, with a short float at 13.08% (equivalent to 11.03 days of average volume). The stock has had a good month, gaining 14.65%.

14. Express Inc. (NYSE:EXPR): Operates specialty retail stores in the United States. Market cap of $2.04B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 1.9M, which is 5.52% of the company's 34.41M share float. The stock has gained 58.13% over the last year.

15. American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (NYSE:AEO): Operates as an apparel and accessories retailer in the United States and Canada. Market cap of $2.73B. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 7.9M, which is 4.71% of the company's 167.85M share float. The stock has had a couple of great days, gaining 6.78% over the last week.

16. Quiksilver Inc. (NYSE:ZQK): Designs, produces and distributes branded apparel, footwear, accessories and related products. Market cap of $569.80M. Net institutional shares purchased over the current quarter at 4.1M, which is 3.62% of the company's 113.32M share float. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.55). The stock has had a good month, gaining 12.38%.

*Institutional data sourced from Fidelity, all other data sourced from Finviz.

Source: 16 Retail Stocks Bought Up By Hedge Funds