Exchange-traded funds offer a convenient way to invest in sectors or niches that interest you. If you expect retailers to do better in the near future, as the global economic recovery gains steam, the SPDR S&P Retail ETF
ETFs often sport lower expense ratios than their mutual fund cousins. The SPDR ETF's expense ratio -- its annual fee -- is a relatively low 0.35%.
This ETF has performed well, outperforming the world stock market handily over the past three and five years. As with most investments, of course, we can't expect outstanding performances in every quarter or year. Investors with conviction need to wait for their holdings to deliver.
What's in it?
Plenty of retail companies had strong performances over the past year. Vitamin and wellness specialist GNC Holdings
Then there's Amazon.com
The big picture
Demand for retailers isn't going away anytime soon. A well-chosen ETF can grant you instant diversification across any industry or group of companies -- and make investing in and profiting from it that much easier.
Retailing is a compelling industry for us small investors to consider, partly because it's relatively easy to understand. And clearly, from the results above, there's good money to be made in it, as well. To get our analysts' take on two very promising retailing stocks, check out our special free report, "The Death of Wal-Mart: The Real Cash Kings Changing the Face of Retail."
Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, owns shares of Wal-Mart and Amazon.com, but she holds no other position in any company mentioned. Click here to see her holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, creating a diagonal call position in Wal-Mart, and shorting SPDR S&P Retail. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.