Selective isolation has become part of modern life, but Coronavirus has made confinement less of a choice. People are working from home, going on fewer dates, ordering in, and stockpiling staple goods to avoid contact with the disease and prepare for a wider outbreak. Widespread fear has given rise to conversations around brands like Clorox ($CLX) and sales of N95 face masks on Amazon ($AMZN). Now, Campbell Soup Co. ($CPB) says retailers are stocking up on its products, in turn boosting the soup giant’s sales and social media interaction. Since the end of February, Campbell’s Facebook mentions have gone up 27% from 4,040 to 5,130.
The company’s baked goods subsidiary Pepperidge Farm has seen similar growth. Its Facebook ‘Talking About’ count has risen from 181 to 322 since late last month, a 78% jump.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Campbell’s sales also rose in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, in 2017 during hurricanes in Texas and Florida, and last year before winter storms. But apparently, those sales didn’t significantly affect overall earnings.
Last week, the company reported adjusted earnings at 72 cents a share, beating analyst expectations of 66 cents. Sales of $2.16 billion were also above estimates. The strong earnings report led Campbell to raise its 2020 earnings-per-share outlook by five cents to a range of $2.55 to $2.60 a share.
Facebook mentions of the Hormel Foods-owned peanut butter brand Skippy ($HRL) saw an increase of 161.5%, from 413 to 1,080, since the beginning of February. Hormel’s deli meat and sausage brand Farmer John’s mentions jumped from 328 to 3,170, a whopping 866% increase, in under a week, from February 28 to March 5.
Grocers are responding to the epidemic and subsequent bump in sales by keeping their shelves stocked with staples. The Wall Street Journal reports that grocery distributor United Natural Foods is doubling inventory for about 350 of the 250,000 items it distributes, with an emphasis on retailers in metropolitan markets.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.