What happened

Shares of shoe retailer Designer Brands (DBI 3.29%) surged on Thursday, after the company disclosed in regulatory filings that its CEO and chief financial officer both bought shares on Wednesday.

As of 2:30 p.m. EDT today, Designer Brands' shares were up about 66% from Wednesday's closing price.

So what

In routine filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, CEO Roger Rawlins and CFO Jared Poff disclosed that they had each bought shares of the company at market prices on Wednesday. Rawlins bought 52,265 shares at an average price of $2.88, and Poff bought 28,911 shares at an average of $2.95.

A woman inspects a sneaker at a shoe store.

Image source: Getty Images.

That was a very bullish sign -- and this company's stock needed one. Like most brick-and-mortar retailers, Designer Brands' shares have been clobbered by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In-store traffic fell sharply last week as consumers heeded health authorities' advice to stay home.

Shares were sold off hard by investors after the company said on Tuesday that it is closing all of its stores in North America and cutting its dividend in a bid to preserve enough cash to weather the crisis. 

Now what

In a new note on Thursday, a team of Cowen analysts led by Oliver Chen tried to put some ballpark estimates around the likely impact of the pandemic on retailers. They see a rough March and April, and then a gradual recovery through the summer. 

It's far from certain that things will go that way, of course. But if that's the way it plays out, then Rawlins and Poff (and anyone buying today) will probably be very happy in a few quarters.