Kohl’s shareholders reject board nominees pushed by activist

NEW YORK — Kohl’s shareholders rejected all 10 board nominees pushed by activist investor Macellum Advisors and instead voted in support of the existing board.

The department store said today that shareholders have voted to re-elect all 13 of its director nominees, according to a preliminary tally at its shareholders’ meeting. Kohl’s did not disclose the tally.

Kohl’s has faced increasing pressure from activist hedge fund Macellum Advisors, which has urged the chain to explore strategic options, including a sale, if the chain didn’t take action to improve its business and increase its stock price. Macellum Advisors, which owns 5% of Kohl’s shares, had put up its own slate of board nominees.

Like many department stores, Kohl’s had struggled before the pandemic, but the health crisis wielded a big blow to sales. The company’s business is rebounding as customers are going out to social events and buying dressier clothes. Shares were down 89 cents, or nearly 2%, to $48.50 in late morning trading today, hovering close to its level at the beginning of the year.

Kohl’s has received multiple buyout offers in recent months. The company has said it is reviewing them.

“While we have had differences with Macellum, this board is committed to serving the interests of all our shareholders,” said Peter Boneparth, chairman of the board. “The board remains focused on running a robust and intentional review of strategic alternatives while executing our strategy to drive shareholder value.”

Kohl’s Corp. is slated to report its fiscal first-quarter financial results on May 19.