Following The Co-operative Group’s announcement last week that it will delist lads’ mags unless publishers deliver them in pre-sealed bags by 9 September, Tesco has said it will no longer sell the magazines to under 18s.
Tesco said over the weekend it had struck a ‘modesty deal’ with lads’ mag publishers who have agreed to tone down their front covers in response to concerns put forward by the retailer. Zoo, Nuts and Front have all agreed to modify their front covers and, at the request of the retailer, the publisher of Bizarre magazine has agreed to deliver the magazine in pre-sealed bags.
Its demands for modesty bags are a victory for UK Feminista but bigger chains are less likely to get steamed up…
“We’ve had in-depth conversations with our customers about this issue, and we’re putting new measures in place based on what they have told us they want. We’ve listened carefully to the concerns raised by the campaign groups, but our priority is to make sure we meet our customers’ needs and expectations,” said a spokeswoman for Tesco.
She added: “To do that, we have secured agreement from the publishers of Zoo, Nuts and Front that their magazine covers will be more modest from now on and the publishers of Bizarre will now supply the magazine in a bag. We are restricting the sale of these magazines to people over the age of 18, to reassure parents who do not want their children to be able to purchase these titles.”
The move follows intensive campaigning from campaign group UK Feminista, which met with Tesco last month. Tesco said it had already begun conversations with customers, staff and publishers ahead of The Co-op’s announcement.
However, Tesco’s action has done little to placate UK Feminista, which says the retailer will continue to profit from sexist publications.
“What Tesco has suggested is a half measure, which doesn’t address the harm of selling such sexist publications,” said UK Feminista founder Kat Banyard.
“Age restricting them highlights the fact that they are adult magazines and that they’ve been breaching their own policy not to sell adult or pornographic magazines.”
Banyard added that UK Feminista will continue to pressure Tesco to stop selling lads’ mags and the group will take the protest to Tesco stores up and down the country on 24 August, protesting outside a number of stores in locations including London, Glasgow, Portsmouth, Halifax, Broadstairs and Norwich.
Tesco, along with most retailers, already adheres to industry guidelines and sells lads’ mags on the back tier of magazine shelves, obscuring the cover so that only the title is visible.