(Reuters) - Department store chain J.C. Penney Co Inc (JCP.N) said on Tuesday that a senior executive inadvertently disclosed its same-store sales for the first quarter so far to an analyst.
The executive revealed in an email that J.C. Penney's same-store sales had risen about 6 percent in the quarter to date, the company said. (http://1.usa.gov/1H3d8Kz)
J.C. Penney said it expected same-store sales to rise by about 3.5-4.5 percent in the first quarter, after adjusting for Easter falling in March this year.
The company said it became aware of the disclosure on April 13, which prompted it to file a Form 8-K under the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's fair disclosure regulations.
The SEC prohibits public companies from selectively disclosing material non-public information to investors and analysts without simultaneously disclosing it to the public.
If an unintentional disclosure occurs, the company must either file an 8-K or use other methods to make the information public within 24 hours, or before the start of the next trading session.
Violations of the fair disclosure rules typically result in civil penalties in the form of fines.
J.C. Penney, which is expected to release results in mid-May for the February-April first quarter, declined to identify or comment on the executive in question.
The company's same-store sales growth has slowed over the past three quarters from 6.2 percent in the first quarter of 2014.
J.C. Penney's stock fell as much as 4 percent to $9.02 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock was down 2.6 percent at $9.15 in afternoon trading.
(Reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey and Simon Jennings)