Kroger ($KR) has been in a tough spot for more than a year now - its stock has lost about 19% over the last 12 months.
The same can be said for staffing - Kroger has been slow to bounce back on the hiring front, looking for 41% fewer jobs today than it was at this time a year ago.
Still, Wells Fargo analysts remain sanguine on the stock - as of September 10, they had an "Outperform" rating on Kroger shares, despite "clear industry challenges," and seeing "room for this value stock to work its way higher this year."
Another wild card facing not just Kroger but other stores in the space (and, on your phone) is the lingering threat posed by Amazon ($AMZN) and its acquisition of Whole Foods, which it can use at a moment's notice to attack smaller competitors who are unable to cut deep discounts and absorb losses in order to gain that sweet, sticky, recurring market share.
As our chart above reflects - it isn't just Kroger facing a bit of a hiring stall either; FreshDirect ($PRIVATE:FRESHDIRECT) job postings have slid over the last 18 months, and its LinkedIn Employee Headcount (not shown) is about the same, at roughly 800, that it was 12 months ago.
So, be they digital or brick-and-mortar grocers, they don't appear to be making big moves ahead of Amazon's inevitable arrival in the space. When Kroger reports earnings on September 12, analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS of $0.42 for the company.
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.