Cole Haan ($PRIVATE:COLEHAAN) is back at it with the online holiday discounts - and in a year when more consumers are opting for web shopping over the throngs at stores on Black Friday, it could mean a big boost to the privately-held shoe seller. And - should it look to return to public markets independently in the form of an IPO - the holiday trend toward more shopping from phones, and less in herds, could pay off for its long-time investors. 

An annual tradition for web-wary consumers is tracking Cole Haan discounts, which tend to get hefty around the holidays (over the weekend one for 60% was spotted). But there's another trend when you take a harder look at the data. 

Cole Haan looks like it's having a big year on the hiring front. Not only is 2019's holiday staffing rise about matching pace with 2018's, but there was a big springtime bump in job listings that also suggests it's been a busy year for the New Hampshire-based shoe company (its design hub is in New York). 

While the first chart is good news; this one is much better. It tracks the Facebook ($FB) Talking About Count affiliated with each brand - or how often consumers are discussing it on the social network. Cole Haan's has already outpaced any time in the last two years - including last year's holiday season - with the exception of a big October 2018 spike.

Nearly seven years after ex-corporate parent Nike ($NKE) peeled Cole Haan off in a divestiture to Apax Partners, the shoe company's private ownership looks like it could pay off - unlike so many other LBO deals in the retail space. Cole Haan is bringing its business model through a DTC revamp and consumers look more and more like they're still engaging with the brand. 

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. 

Further Reading: 

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