Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) executives unloaded a large amount of their company’s stock earlier this year, about a month before the company released weak quarterly sales data that caused its share price to drop 24% in a single day.
Between March 7 and March 22, ten Big Lots senior executives sold $23 million worth of their company’s shares, including CEO Steven Fishman who sold $10 million in shares, the Wall Street Journal noted. Company executives were permitted to sell Big Lots shares during that period.
On April 23, Big Lots revealed that sales had begun slowing in late March, news which caused shares to tumble.
The sales were conducted outside of pre-arranged share trading plans, known as “10b5-1″ plans, which permit corporate executives to schedule trades of their companies’ shares at specific future dates or prices in order to avoid insider trading regulations.
Federal regulators are now examining CEO share trades both within and outside such pre-arranged trading plans. The SEC is reportedly reviewing Fishman’s trades as well as those by the CEO of VeriFone (NYSE:PAY) and a number of other companies.
Earlier this month, Fishman announced that he was retiring as Big Lots’ CEO and would step down as soon as a successor was located.
Shares of Big Lots rose fractionally in Wednesday morning trading.