Americans are buying in bulk, and they're staying at home. For big-box retailers that also sell jumbo items for people prepping for threats both real and imagined, and particularly those that have limited their international exposure, the time to shine for investors may be now. 

BJ's won't report earnings for a day, but investors are buying in and bidding shares up past market benchmarks' rise in early trading Wednesday, March 4. It may be because they think the Massachusetts-based retailer is a Coronavirus outbreak hedge. After seeing shares drop 18% over the last year, it's a great time for good-looking data. 

And, the right data points for BJ's Wholesale ($NYSE:BJS) are certainly shining. To start, it's cut job postings 45%, which coincides with the growth of its physical footprint. There are other retailers that sliced retail-focused job postings around the holidays, and this may not be too big of a deal.

Especially since BJ's hiring appears to have peaked, also like other retailers, right before the big holiday rush. Earnings are to be reported Wednesday, March 5 and analysts tracked by Zacks Investment Research are looking for EPS $0.41 for the retailer. 

Plus, as our chart above tells us, store count is up more than 3% year-over-year. 

And to our last point: at a time when plenty of US retailers and consumer-facing companies are looking at dire projections in China, whether it's their supply chain or their sales, others that weren't able to lunge on the growth trend are now possibly facing better prospects, so long as the US Coronavirus outbreak isn't felt on as severe a scale as the Wuhan province in China.

And, looking at our map, our final image below, BJ's scale on the East Coast and in a few midwestern states should give it a leg up, provided there's sustained challenges in China. 

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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