The COVID-19 pandemic forced every retailer to reconsider their plans back in March, from which stores to keep open, to how many people should be let in at a time, to inventory management, to setting up curbside pick-up operations. Costco Wholesale ($COST) was deemed essential early on and kept business as usual with social distancing measures in place. In short, it's been a good quarter for Costco, and the warehouse club will report its second-quarter earnings this week on Thursday, May 28.

The main thing to keep notice of with these earnings is just how much the pandemic affected in-store sales. Apparently, sales dropped in April when people had enough of going outside to shop for goods, and online sales jumped 90%. What should have been a boon for business, with so many other options closing their doors, might end up being a missed opportunity through no fault of Costco. The expected earnings are still set to go up by almost 8%, and the consensus estimate is $2.04 per share and more than $37 billion in revenue. So don't break out the tissues if you wanted to cry over a dip in sales.

This year alone has seen a 5% increase in the number of LinkedIn users who list themselves as Costco workers. While trying to enact safer rules for both shoppers and staff, Costco is still hiring and growing to keep up with both in-store and online demand as things go back to 'normal', or whatever sense of normal there still is to cling onto these days. Costco stock price hit a high in February, and despite everything that's happened, the retailer is still kicking.

Costco has done exceptionally well on social media. Both Facebook Likes and 'Talking About' count have never been so high. Hundreds of thousands of people are mentioning Costco on Facebook, which is most likely a combination of people asking "what locations are open and when", "is it worth it to order online", and other fun questions like if they have "any hand sanitizer available".

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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