Lads mags in a Co-op store

Lads’ mags Front, Nuts and Zoo will no longer be sold in more than 4,000 Co-op stores from today after the magazine’s publishers refused the Co-operative Retail Trading Group’s demand to cover up their raunchy front covers.

CRTG, the buying group for 18 co-op societies across the UK including The Co-operative Group, warned the titles in July to cover up by 9 September or be delisted.

The demand followed “growing concern from members, customers and colleagues over exposure of children to the overt sexual images on these front covers which, despite the retailer’s best efforts, are still sometimes visible in-store”.

The only lads’ mag to agree to the CRTG’s demands was Loaded, which will put its mags in modesty bags from its 18 September issue onwards.

CRTG said it had also delisted the Midweek and Sunday Sport newspapers because its publisher Sunday Sport could not fulfil its earlier undertakings to deliver all editions to Co-op stores in modesty bags.

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The Co-op Group’s head of retail Steve Murrells told The Grocer last month the society had been inundated with requests to either stop selling lads’ mags or to cover them up: “The comments we were receiving and the letters we were getting in got to such a level we had to do something about it.

“If you go back to the Rochdale Pioneers, that’s what they did. They changed markets by not accepting the status quo.”

And Murrells said today: “As a community-based retailer, we have listened to and acted upon the concerns of our customers and members, many of whom said they objected to their children being able to see overt sexual images in our stores.

“We believe individual, sealed modesty bags are the most effective way of addressing these concerns, so we will no longer be stocking the titles that have failed to meet our request,” he added. “This action will make our stores more attractive to families with young children, by creating a more family-friendly shopping environment.”

After the CRTG’s original announcement in July, Tesco said it would no longer sell lads’ mags to under 18s.

“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,” a Tesco spokeswoman said last month.