Shares of J.C. Penney Co. Inc. fell 2.7 percent to $9.15 in a day of heavy trading on the stock.

This story first appeared in the April 15, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

More than 19.3 million shares changed hands, compared with a three-month average volume of nearly 12.6 million shares. Shares fell as much as 4.2 percent to $9.40 in intraday trading.

The company on Tuesday said that an executive inadvertently disclosed first quarter same-store sales to an analyst in an e-mail. That prompted the retailer to make the full disclosure in a regulatory filing, a Form 8-K, with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The filing was to comply with Regulation FD requirements to ensure that disclosures are made to everyone and not just to a select few.

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The company said comps are 6 percent up in the quarter to date, and it expects final same-store sales for the quarter to increase in the range of 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent. The current quarter also included an earlier Easter, on April 5 compared with April 20 a year ago, hence the slightly higher 6 percent comps through April 11.

Following the retailer’s filing with the SEC, Baird Equity Research analyst Mark R. Altschwager said the updated guidance of between 3.5 percent to 4 percent is ahead of his firm’s prior 3 percent estimate. He noted that “guidance implies expected comps of approximately down mid-single digits to flat for the remaining 21 days of the quarter, pressured by the Easter shift.”

The analyst also said the “business is on a more stable footing,” and that while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization recovery is possible over the next one to two years, meaningful free cash flow growth will be challenging as investment needs normalize.

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