Retailer Nordstrom ($JWN) opened Thursday, May 9, to the markets on a sour note. Shares fell after Wedbush Securities analyst Jen Redding downgraded the stock on top-line concerns. Nordstrom's ratings were cut to "neutral" from "outperform" in a year when the stock has already slid more than 17 percent. The company is expected to announce earnings for its most-recent quarter May 21.
Our data shows that in 2019, foot traffic to all Nordstrom properties has begun to level off (this includes its discount operation, Nordstrom Rack). We can track this with Facebook ($FB) Were Here Count. This metric measures how many check-ins, mobile device shares, and photo-location tags are made in a place related to a business with a Facebook account. Were Here helps to reflect any physical location's foot traffic, mirrored through the activity of social media users.
The graph reflects that, for all of 2017, Were Here counts increased more than 20%; this fell to less than 9% across 2018. So far this year, data reflects just a 1.24% increase from 1.61 million to 1.63 million.
Social interest in Nordstrom's online and app properties also looks to be on the decline, according to our data. Facebook Talking About Count measures how much online consumer chatter is being generated by a particular website. Similar to our ability to gauge foot traffic for physical locations, Talking About Count can reflect consumers' interest in a given brand.
For Nordstrom's digital properties including Hautelook and Trunk Club, Talking About Count fell more than 75% from the 2018 peak to the 2019 peak. More recently, consumer sentiment directed at Hautelook on Facebook slipped even more, garnering just a few hundred mentions a day. The decline in Talking About Count was similar for Trunk Club, which saw a peak of more than 20,000 data points registered in a single day in early January 2018 - the most recent tally covering this metric is down 46% compared to that peak, registering 10,800 mentions as of May 6.
There is still less to be enthusiastic about when checking each web brand's Facebook Likes tally. Hautelook's numbers have fallen 2% from their April 2018 peak; while Trunk Club seems to have plateaued, rising less than 1% this year.
Is it a sign that some of Nordstrom's top shoppers are less engaged with the brand - or are they just talking about it less? We will know more before the month is out.
Wedbush Securities' downgrades also applied to other retailers when it announced new stock ratings May 9 - so Nordstrom isn't alone. But when a digital property begins to see declines alongside its brick-and-mortar parent, it signals the beginning of a trend worth monitoring - and we'll be back with an update before the company's next earnings announcement in August.