It’s been a while since we checked in with retail, and there are plenty of data to parse as the sector continues to crawl back from e-commerce-inspired investor pessimism. Cowen & Co.’s retail team, led by John Kernan, writes that as we enter the second half of the year–traditionally the most important for retail, as it includes both back-to-school shopping and the holiday season–sentiment continues to improve for the sector. Kernan writes that the narrative for retail continues to transform from an “Armageddon” that dominated last year, to one of hope, helped by improved retail sales and traffic and cleaner inventories. As for specific stocks, hew rites that PVH, Burlington Stores, Ross Stores, lululemon athletica, and RH, while the least-loved include Under Armour, Skechers, Hanesbrands, Ralph Lauren, and Signet Jewelers. Speaking of back-to-school, shoppers expect to spend $28 billion for BTS and favor physical stores to online retailers by a factor of more than two to one, according to a Deloitte survey. Read more at Barron’s.