A report by Citi analysts Deborah L Weinswig and Tiffany Kanaga says short interest in the Retail sector was up 4.7% in the latter half of September and +8.6% for the month. On the other hand, NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX) short interest decreased (-2.1%) during the latter half of September. Here are some interesting insights from the report.

retailers short intt trend

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Which retailers bore the brunt?

The five retailers that saw the maximum increase in short interest in the second half of September were as follows:

Short Interest Short Interest Short Interest
Ticker Company September 13, 2013 September 30, 2013 % chg.
WAG Walgreen 13,358,325 15,447,730 15.6%
JCP J.C. Penney 71,720,285 83,522,478 16.5%
TGT Target 17,873,309 20,835,151 16.6%
DDS Dillard’s 2,812,231 3,372,157 19.9%
DLTR Dollar Tree 2,875,930 14,313,134 397.7%

Which retailers stood their ground?

The five retailers that saw a decrease in short interest were:

Short Interest Short Interest Short Interest
Ticker Company September 13, 2013 September 30, 2013 % chg.
SWY Safeway 47,131,075 32,638,422 (30.7%)
SHLD Sears Holdings 15,931,810 13,710,928 (13.9%)
KR Kroger 8,936,874 7,864,197 (12.0%)
M Macy’s 9,513,098 8,396,316 (11.7%)
DG Dollar General 4,271,895 3,979,007 (6.9%)

Which retailers had the maximum short interest?

The following five retailers showed the maximum short positions as a percentage of float:

Short Interest Short Intt/Float
Ticker Company September 30, 2013 September 30, 2013
SWY Safeway 32,638,422 13.7%
SVU Supervalu 33,593,625 16.8%
SHLD Sears Holdings 13,710,928 17.8%
SKS Saks 18,049,887 19.4%
JCP J.C. Penney 83,522,478 38.4%

Short position in J.C. Penney

According to the report, the short position in J.C. Penney Company, Inc.(NYSE:JCP), the largest as a percentage of float, could be covered in just 1.3 days given its average daily volume of 62.54M shares.

In contrast, it would take bears in Fred’s, Inc.(NASDAQ:FRED) all of 19.4 days to cover their shorts.