H&M ($STO:HM-B) had some great news for furloughed employees this week. They can return! Finally.

The second-largest fashion retailer in the world announced that anyone furloughed from its Stockholm HQ can return to work come July. A spokesperson said, "as it currently stands, we will not seek to extend the furlough period for our staff at the headquarters in Sweden to the July-October period."

Back in March, there were plans to lay off thousands, thanks to the untimely Coronavirus pandemic displacing just about everything in the world. But those plans turned into temporary layoffs, otherwise known as furloughs, and things are now slowly going back to being normal. Well, "normal" is relative in this case, but still.

Stores that were temporarily closed are reopening, and hopefully, sales will rebound, since the last two months have led to quite a reduction in customers in stores, which means sales were cut in half effectively.

So what does the alternative data tell us about the future of shopping at H&M? Mainly, that it won't be done through Twitter.

What is happening to the H&M Twitter account? The follower count has declined by 11% over the last four years. We know it's still half a million people but compared to the other social media accounts, are H&M shoppers just over Twitter? Because they're clearly not over Facebook.

38 million and counting still Like H&M on Facebook, as the 'Talking About' count for the brand has seen a noticeable uptick throughout this year. May 2 alone saw 45,000 people talking about going to an H&M, or ordering online, which could be the start of a comeback this summer for sales. Fingers crossed.

H&M has a reliable userbase reviewing its app on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Stores. Half a million people have left a review between the two versions, and the average rating is still nearly 5/5 on both platforms. This is great news for H&M, as it can now begin pairing the apps to the in-store experience, and if we ran a retailer, we would definitely be pushing a curbside pick-up and digital sales strategy. 

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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