As the stocks of brick-and-mortar retailers plunge, a growing number of investors are flocking to the sector in search of riches, according to the Wall Street Journal. The buyers include value investors, hedge funds, and traditional traders along with day traders who are looking to turn a quick profit from a brief rebound in these distressed retailers’ share prices, the Journal reports. That’s quite a change for a sector that’s been relatively neglected in recent years as investors chased hot industries such as technology and finance.

Among the most sought-after retailers in this new game are Macy’s Inc. (M

), Kohl’s Corp. (KSS), Target Corp. (TGT) and Nordstrom Inc. (JWN). For the year-to-date through Friday, shares of these companies are down 35.7%, 19.2%, 24.8% and 0.6%, respectively, according to Investopedia analysis. In several cases, the declines are even more drastic over the last one to two to years, with Macy’s down by nearly half in the last 12 months alone.

Volume and Volatility Surge

For Macy’s, the largest department store operator in the U.S., trading volume in May was the highest for any month since 2011, the Journal reports, adding that June volume was close behind. Likewise, May and June were two of the five highest trading volume months in the past five years for both Kohl’s and Target, the Journal notes. Recent spikes in volume, however, mainly have been associated with bad news. On May 11, Macy’s stock had its worst one-day decline since 2008, a drop of 17% on heavy trading after the company reported a quarterly decrease in same-store sales, the Journal indicates.

Day traders are using the surge in volume, as well as the attendant price volatility, as a way to score profits. For these short-term speculators, the action has moved to retail from traditionally high-volatility sectors such as biotech, penny stocks or…