Securities and Exchange Commission

COVID-19 has had an unprecedented effect on the retail industry across the United States, as many retailers grapple with government mandates that either require closure or impose stringent restrictions on being open, employment and supply chain disruptions, and an overall decline in consumer demand as market conditions remain volatile and unemployment rates continue to rise.
Continue Reading Trends in Retailer SEC Disclosures in Light of COVID-19

A recent successful effort by a public company to exclude an environmental proposal from its proxy statement may signal a new approach for boards of directors to consider when managing shareholder proposals. Because retailers and consumer products companies routinely receive shareholder proposals on environmental and sustainability issues, similar arguments for exclusion may be persuasive to the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the future.
Continue Reading The Board’s Importance in Vetting Shareholder Proposals

On March 20, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission adopted amendments to simplify and modernize disclosure requirements. These amendments implement recommendations from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act and are intended to make disclosures easier to read and navigate and to reduce repetitive and immaterial information.
Continue Reading Newly Adopted SEC Rules Implement FAST Act Mandate and Simplify Disclosure

In a recent speech, Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Chairman Jay Clayton summarized a number of regulatory priorities for 2019 that may interest retailers. Clayton began the speech looking back on 2018’s accomplishments, then spent the bulk of his time discussing planned rulemaking efforts in the coming year.
Continue Reading SEC Chairman Previews Regulatory Agenda for 2019

On October 23, 2018, the SEC Division of Corporation Finance issued Staff Legal Bulletin No. 14J, which reiterated and expounded upon prior guidance regarding when companies may exclude shareholder proposals under the economic relevance exception of Rule 14a-8(i)(5), and the ordinary business exception of Rule 14a-8(i)(7).
Continue Reading SEC Provides Additional Guidance on Excluding Shareholder Proposals

The SEC recently proposed or adopted several rules of interest to retailers, particularly those that are publicly traded. They concern (1) final rules modernizing the definition of “smaller reporting company,” (2) final rules implementing the use of Inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language and (3) proposed rules amending the SEC’s whistleblower program.
Continue Reading SEC Rulemaking Activity of Interest to Retailers

In recent years, publicly traded retailers in have experienced a significant uptick in interest from investors focused on Environmental, Social and Governance issues. On April 23, 2018, the Department of Labor released Field Assistance Bulletin 2018-01, which applies to certain retirement plan fiduciaries who make investment and proxy voting decisions that derive from ESG concerns, and may impact investor behavior at public retailers.
Continue Reading Department of Labor Issues New Guidance on ESG Investing

At the end of February, the SEC staff issued a No-Action Letter permitting a company to exclude a shareholder proposal under Rule 14a-8(i)(5), often referred to as the economic relevance exception. This could have implications for other retailers seeking to exclude shareholder proposals under the rule in the future.
Continue Reading SEC Staff Permits Exclusion of Shareholder Proposal Under Economic Relevance Exception