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J.C. Penney e-mail misfire shows sales are humming along

Earns JC PenneyEarns JC Penney
The J.C. Penney comeback continues.Photograph by LM Otero — AP

In terms of e-mail snafus, J.C. Penney (JCP) could do worse.

After a senior executive this week inadvertently sent an e-mail to a securities analyst that contained non-public information regarding the company’s sales results, the department store chain on Tuesday had to put out a regulatory filing saying comparable sales were up 6% so far this quarter, which started in early February, suggesting the retailer did great business over Easter and has seen a strong start to the spring season.

For the whole quarter, Penney said it expects comparable sales, which include sales at stores open for at least a year, and e-commerce, to be up 3.5% to 4.5%, a lower number because Penney’s has already seen the Easter sales bump. (It was also in line with its initial forecast for growth of 3-5%.)

“On April 13, 2015, J. C. Penney Company, Inc. (the “Company”) became aware that a senior official of the Company inadvertently sent an e-mail communication to a securities analyst that contained non-public information regarding the Company’s comparable store sales results for the fiscal first quarter of 2015 to date,” Penney said in the filing.

Even though this was probably a pain in the neck to do for Penney’s investor relations team, at least it was good news. Penney has been on the comeback trail in the two years since previous CEO Ron Johnson was fired after his attempts to re-invent Penney failed spectacularly. Sales rebounded last year, but Penney investors punished the stock in February after its forecast suggested its profit margin was recovery a bit too slowly.