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JC Penney Learns That You Have To Share Your Mistakenly Released Sales Numbers With The Whole Class

Somewhere, Ron Johnson is smirking so hard right now.

When Wall Street gets Q1 fever, things get crazy.

J.C. Penney Co. investors got an early peek at its first-quarter sales on Tuesday after the company inadvertently e-mailed the information to a securities analyst.

Oopsie daisy, indeed. But at least it was only one analyst.

The gaffe prompted the department-store chain to share the data with investors under Regulation FD rules, which forbid selective disclosure. To date, same-store sales are up about 6 percent in the period, helped by an early Easter, J.C. Penney said in a regulatory filing.

Like any good elementary school teacher, financial regulators make it a hard rule that if you're going to accidentally leak sales statistics to one friend, you need to leak them to everyone.

Secrets, secrets are no fun.

Regardless, this kind of tomfoolery is bummer for JC Penney, a company that seems to have just gotten out from under an existential rain cloud that followed it around for a handful of quarters.

After the holiday’s benefit fades, the full quarter’s growth will probably be 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent, the company said. That exceeds the 3.1 percent that analysts had been estimating, and the shares initially jumped in early trading. The stock then pared its gains and was only up 0.5 percent at $9.45 as of 9:32 a.m. in New York.

So, JC Penney can take comfort in the fact that it should just be really embarrassed and not completely mortified.

Q1 fever, y'all.

Oops: J.C. Penney Inadvertently E-Mails Sales Data to Analyst [Bloomberg]


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