Urban Outfitters ($URBN) is slated to post earnings today, Tuesday, May 19th, after market close. Estimates aren’t looking great, to say the least. The fashion and lifestyle retailer is estimated to lose $0.25 per share on revenues of ~$640 million with large year-over-year declines, as Seeking Alpha reports. Shares are down over 40% since mid-February.

Like most retailers, pandemic-era store closures and lack of foot traffic are hurting Urban’s business. Urban Outfitters’ global retail stores shut down on March 14 and have yet to open back up. While online sales haven’t been impacted, lower demand overall has led Urban to furlough employees, borrow $220 million to support continued operations, cancel and delay orders, and extend payment terms for vendor invoices. Plans of expanding into China and launching the new subscription service Nuuly have been put on hold.

Since February, Urban’s job postings have been slashed 86%.

And while Urban loyalists may have shifted to online shopping, they don’t seem to be posting about it. The brand’s social media engagement is falling fast. Facebook mentions peaked in March, but have since plummeted 69%. Likes on Urban’s page have been dropping since February. That means people are actively going to the Urban Outfitters Facebook page to “unlike” the retailer. 

The company’s Twitter page is seeing a similar trend. Its follower count has been falling since 2018 and continues to drop through the pandemic.

This lack of interest is a bad sign, not to mention the likely increase in markdowns as inventory stacks up. That said, Urban has beaten EPS estimates 88% of the time over the past two years. So maybe today’s earnings will be a pleasant surprise. Crazier things have happened.

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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