BJ's Wholesale Club ($BJ) had a tremendous earnings call yesterday, and is currently in the midst of a sales surge. The first-quarter earnings ended up being $0.69 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by double. Last year at this time the earnings were $0.26. So clearly, the Coronavirus-induced pandemic and economic implosion have only benefited BJ's bottom line; in-store sales grew 20%, meaning people wanted groceries and supplies in bulk.

And when East Coast shoppers feel they need to buy in bulk, BJ's is front of mind. But when we looked into the data, we found that not only had the stock shot up, but BJ's social media also saw a rise, as customers posted about going to find paper towels, toilet paper, and those giant tubs of cheese balls.

Social media

BJ's Facebook likes have gone up a little bit, but you can see the 'Talking About' count started to climb around early March, followed by several spikes. At the beginning of the year, the average was around 3,000-4,000 people talking about BJ's. The resting average seems to be around 12,000 now, although it's gone up again in the past few days.

The same exact time can be seen in the Twitter data, as a thousand new followers joined when the self-quarantine starting going into effect around the country.

BJ's headcount, hiring, and stores

BJ's hasn't shuttered any stores yet, unlike many retailers, and has only added more people to its employee headcount. On LinkedIn, a few hundred new workers (both part and full-time) listed BJ's as their employer. 

Although job openings in 2020 are down from 2019, you can see that during the pandemic months there have been concerted efforts to increase job postings. From February 1 to April 16, listings went up 40%. From April 16 to today, it's only gone down by 19%. So while it may go up and down, there are still more than a thousand jobs at BJ's available at any given point in time, which means this wholesale store will still be open and ready for business through the pandemic.

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. 

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