Saks Inc shareholders voted on Wednesday to call on the struggling upscale retailer to put directors up for election annually, eliminating a staggered board with three-year terms, in a move to make the board more accountable.

Shareholders also voted for a proposal that would require directors to receive a majority of votes to be elected, rather than a plurality, which can allow a director to be elected with less than 50 percent of the vote.

Hedge fund P. Schoenfeld Asset Management, with a 1.5 percent stake in Saks made the proposals in May.

Schoenfeld's plea to fellow shareholders cited a decline in Saks' share price and its weak sales, which the hedge fund contended was not just due to the problems faced by luxury retailers.

It had also pushed shareholders to withhold their votes for C. Warren Neel, but Neel was reelected, Saks Chairman Steve Sadove said at the company's annual meeting, which was also webcast.

Sadove said the board of directors would consider what actions to take following the shareholder votes, which were nonbinding, and would also have discussions with Schoenfeld.

The results announced by Sadove were preliminary, with the final tally expected to be released in two weeks.

Saks shares were down 18 cents, or 4.16 percent, at $4.15 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Brad Dorfman and Aarthi Sivaraman; Editing by Andre Grenon)