The Coronavirus pandemic has been hard on retailers. Revenue has fallen in step with store closures, slowed factory production, and an economy in turmoil. Companies like J. Crew and JC Penney have filed for bankruptcy. But as COVID lockdown measures lift and stores reopen, brands like American Eagle Outfitters ($NYSE:AEO) could be poised to bounce back.

American Eagle will report earnings tomorrow before the market opens, and the analyst estimates are pretty optimistic as the company’s online demand surges. Stocks rose yesterday. AEO’s price surged by 7.97& to reach $0.73. Shares reached a high of $10.08 and dropped to a low of $9.27, finishing in the latest session at $9.89.

Our data shows a healthy amount of social media chatter surrounding American Eagle and its Aerie brand over the past few months, even with store closures. Aerie, which specializes in loungewear and intimates, peaked at 8,700 Facebook mentions in April. American Eagle hit 19,700 mentions that month.

American Eagle started reopening some stores last month after shuttering all 1,000 locations in March. Now, the clothing company is operating with about half of its retail outlets, offering curbside pickup and new in-store safety measures. 

There will be frequent store cleanings, temperature checks, hand sanitizer, touch-free payment, and masks for all workers. Changing rooms are open, but they will be sanitized after each customer. All clothing that has been tried on will be quarantined in a box for 24 hours. 

But American Eagle’s career page paints a darker picture. In March, the company slashed job postings by 96%. It has since added 100 open positions, now at 240. 

With reduced retail operations and a pared-down retail team, American Eagle might need to restructure its business for maximum profit. But in the meantime, things are looking up. Aerie's sweatpants were a favorite for quarantine. Now AEO will have to double down on bikinis and back-to-school wardrobes. 

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.