Two of the biggest names in discount stores, Dollar General ($NYSE:DG) and Dollar Tree ($NASDAQ:DLTR), have first-quarter earnings on Thursday, May 28. Both stores have a lot of similarities to each other, and later this week you can expect both to report news of increased revenue due to "panic shopping" during the pandemic.

Things have calmed down since March, with many states slowly reopening, but these dollar discount retailers have seen tremendous profits as people bounce from store to store looking for essential items. Zacks has its Consensus Estimate for Dollar General pegged at $1.68 per share for the quarter and Dollar Tree at $0.92 per share.

There's no victory being declared after comparing the data between these two rivals, but we did find lots of interesting tidbits that might help explain why these two companies are doing so well (apart from the obvious reasons, things that cost less do really well in an economic downturn with so many people being furloughed and laid off). Let's take a look at where these stores are in relation to each other, how many people they're each looking to hire, and how increased foot traffic led to social media engagement going up.

2020 has seen Dollar General, Dollar Tree and its Family Dollar line all increase in headcount. Dollar General grew its workforce by 7.7%, Family Dollar grew by 7.5%, and Dollar Tree by 10.5%. 

Dollar General has been remarkably consistent about having 49,000 job postings up at any given time, stretching back into last year, and the pandemic has changed nothing about its hiring plans. Mostly part-time jobs are available, and as more and more people lose their jobs, they might turn to working for a discount store as a cashier.

Dollar Tree, on the other hand, saw a big jump in its job listings in March, going from 4,000 openings to almost 12,000. That's an increase of 200%, otherwise known as triple the number of jobs available. 

Finally, we noticed there was a huge spike in Dollar General's 'Talking About' count on Facebook that coincided with an uptick in Likes. This happened around the time the NBA shut down its league, which forced other sports leagues to do the same, and is sort of the tipping point in companies letting employees work from home in America. That might be when people started going to their local Dollar General stores to stock up on supplies, and when the fever pitch hit its absolute apex.

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.