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Gap Shares Up on Early Release of Sales Report

Gap Apparel Retail Store 02

 (Reuters)

Gap (GPS) had planned to release its monthly same-store sales report after Thursday’s closing bell, but the results were leaked and shares jumped on the news of improved sales.

The retailer sent out a press release confirming the numbers found in a leaked transcript of prerecorded comments. Comparable-store sales in February rose 3%, one percentage point higher than Wall Street’s view.

Shares of Gap surged 3.74% to $35.75 in late morning trading.

Trading was halted shortly before 11 a.m. ET given the early release of same-store sales, which appeared on financial news website Seeking Alpha.

A company spokesperson told Dow Jones Newswires that the leak occurred because of a third-party vendor and a change in the usual timing for monthly sales reports. Gap traditionally releases sales figures before the opening bell.

Gap also said total sales grew 11% last month. Same-store sales at Old Navy were up 6%, while namesake Gap posted a 2% gain versus a 2% decline in February 2012. Banana Republic’s comparable sales were down 5%, a year after recording an 11% gain.

Follow Matthew Rocco on Twitter @MatthewRocco