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Retail stocks have their best day of the year, but that's not saying much

Retail stocks rallied in their best day of the year, after Target raised its second-quarter earnings forecast, boosting hopes that others in the sector are also seeing improvement.

But even with the one day of euphoria in some of the worst performing retail names, many major brick-and-mortar chains are still extremely depressed, having seen their market cap dissolve this year as shoppers move online. The XRT, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF, closed up 2.3 percent, its best day since Nov. 22.

J.C. Penney, for instance, jumped 7.8...