JCPenney Executive Accidentally E-Mails Sales Figures To Stock Analyst

Image courtesy of WashuOtaku)

Here’s a bit of cheery news about a venerable American retailer: JCPenney’s comparable store sales as calculated so far for the first quarter were up 6% over last year. Unfortunately, the reason why we know this is somewhat less cheery. Someone described as a “senior official” at the company accidentally e-mailed early figures that weren’t yet public for the first quarter of 2015 to a securities analyst.

Everyone who uses e-mail regularly has done something like this at least once. My favorite story is about how I once sent a photo of a flower instead of an invoice to Consumer Reports. However, when most of us send the wrong document to the wrong person, it results in some confusion or embarrassment. In this case, the Securities and Exchange Commission was involved, since the company had to notify the government about the non-public information that escaped and was made public.

The company’s stock price fell slightly, since what investors want are increasing sales figures, and JCP’s growth is slowing down as it tries to recover from its slump of the last decade or so.

The company isn’t identifying the executive who made the e-mail slip. The worst result could be the fall in stock price, as mentioned before, and a fine if the SEC discovers that the company didn’t let them know about the escaped information in a timely manner.

J.C. Penney says executive inadvertently disclosed same-store sales [Reuters]

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