Major supermarkets have withdrawn The Sun from sale in their Merseyside stores following local protests.
Eleven Asda stores in the area have removed the newspaper from their shelves last week in light of a “uniquely strong feeling” towards the publication following its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster.
Two Tesco stores have also stopped selling the publication and Morrisons in Speke pulled the paper last month following a protest by the ‘Don’t Buy The Sun’ campaign.
Campaign head Paul Collins said he had met with several store managers to discuss their sale of the paper since it failed to publish the Hillsborough verdict on its front page in April. Collins said the omission had re-opened old wounds caused by the paper, which published false allegations about Liverpool fans involved in the disaster 27 years ago.
“If you speak to any of the supermarkets, they’ve had problems with The Sun in terms of people throwing it in the bin and out of the window, hiding it under other newspapers and people shouting and being angry about it,” he said. “There’s a huge groundswell of opinion against the newspaper.”
Collins organised the protest outside Morrisons in Speke last month, during which 800 shoppers signed a petition calling for The Sun’s withdrawal. It also staged a picket line in front of its petrol forecourt, which Collins estimated cost Morrisons thousands of pounds in lost trade.
The group staged smaller protests outside branches of Sainsbury’s and Tesco this week.
Collins said he was confident more supermarket branches would start excluding The Sun from their shelves. “It’s not selling many copies and their decision will be a commercial one,” he argued. “Do they look after the five people who buy The Sun or God knows how many more that have indicated they will shop elsewhere? That’s an easy decision and I think they will do it - money talks.”
The ‘Don’t Buy The Sun’ campaign has attracted more than 5,800 likes on Facebook to date.
Sainsbury’s is the only member of the big four not to have withdrawn The Sun from sale in any of its branches, but the supermarket is conducting a commercial review of its range of papers available nationwide.