Chico's (NYSE: CHS) is set to have its third-quarter earnings call tomorrow, but we have some tea leaves to read ahead of time via alternative data.

First, a look at discounts. Chico's maintains an unusually high average discount on its products, which is a sign it needs to move inventory.

In response to trying to move more items out of its stores, Chico's also has been shuttering shops more frequently, which isn't a great sign. It's part of a rising trend hitting many department store retailers, with more options to order online, consumers are opting out of brick-and-mortar retail relationships and ordering to their homes, or even curbside, where a number of leading big-box stores have boosted service.

Job listings have been down considerably for Chico's. This, combined with the store closings, could spell trouble for the total employee headcount, and the future of Chico's overall. It's just another signal that the company should have taken the buyout offer it had earlier this year, but rejected, because its leadership felt it were being lowballed.

The one bright spot we found was its employee count on LinkedIn ($MSFT), which is a good indication of resiliency in this era of the 'retail apocalypse' we find ourselves in. Analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for a goose egg when Chico's reports earnings, $0.00, and anything less than that should send stock spiraling downward. The bigger question is, can Chico's bounce back, or did its leadership botch what could have been a perfectly acceptable exit?

When the company reports earnings August 28, don't expect the moon or the stars. Chico’s shares have been in a poor trend in 2019, losing more than 50% of their value. But if there is any change in the data, or the market, expect an update as soon as possible.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using 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. 

Further Reading: 

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