Plano-based JC Penney expects 1Q key sales metric to top Street’s view

NEW YORK (AP) — J.C. Penney said Tuesday that it anticipates its fiscal first-quarter sales at stores open at least a year will top analysts’ expectations.

The Plano-based department store operator said in a regulatory filing that a senior official inadvertently sent an email on Monday to a securities analyst that had non-public information about its first-quarter same stores sales to date, which are up about 6 percent.

J.C. Penney Co. said that based on the quarter-to-date performance and a shift in the timing of the Easter holiday from the prior year, it currently expects sales at stores open at least a year will rise 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent for the first quarter.

Analysts polled by FactSet predict a 3.2 percent increase.

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Sales at stores open at least a year is a key gauge of a retailer’s health because it excludes results from locations recently opened or closed.

Shares of J.C. Penney shed 11 cents to $9.28 in morning trading Tuesday.