Investors are going short retailers as the earnings season reveals uneven growth in the sector, dragging down retail-related exchange traded funds.

The SPDR S&P Retail ETF (NYSEArca: XRT) has underperformed the broader market this year, falling 0.8% year-to-date, compared to the 8.6% gain in the S&P 500 index.

So far this year, U.S.-listed retail ETFs have experienced $500 million in outflows this year, compared to last year’s inflows of $100 million.

“Investors have been increasing their short positions in a number of positions that make up retail ETFs, XRT being the biggest one,” reports Amber Kanwar for Business News Network.

According to Markit data, short interest in the component holdings that make up the S&P retail ETF has increased to their highest level since early 2013.

Specifically, back-to-school companies are being targeted. For instance, Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE: ANF) has seen investors’ demand to short surge 15%. and short interest is up in Sears Holdings (NasdaqGS: SHLD) and Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS).

The earnings season has revealed uneven growth in the retail sector, with the losers countering sector gains from the winners.

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