Additionally, the decline in discretionary group relative to staples comes after U.S. retailers, like Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT), reported weakening outlooks. [Retail ETFs Could Get Coal in Their Stockings]

The two largest ETFs in the consumer discretionary and staples group include the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLY) and Consumer Staples Select Sector SPDR (NYSEArca: XLP). So far this year, discretionary stocks have outperformed, with XLY gaining 38.9% year-to-date, compared to XLP’s rise of 24.8%.

Potential investors should be aware that the consumer discretionary group also includes hotels, restaurants and auto-related companies, which may not depend on Christmas sales.

Other broad discretionary-related ETFs include:

  • Market Vectors Retail ETF (NYSEArca: RTH): up 38.5% year-to-date
  • Vanguard Consumer Discretionary Index Fund (NYSEArca: VCR): up 39.7% year-to-date
  • First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXD): up 40.1% year-to-date

Other broad consumer staples ETFs include:

  • Vanguard Consumer Staples Index Fund (NYSEArca: VDC): up 26.4% year-to-date
  • First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXG): up 39.7% year-to-date
  • iShares Dow Jones U. S. Consumer Goods Sector Index Fund (NYSEArca: IYK): up 27.9% year-to-date

For more information on consumer discretionary sector, visit our consumer discretionary category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.