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30 July 2013 | Adam Leach
Publishers supplying magazines with “overtly sexual” front covers to The Co-operative Group have been told they will no longer be sold in stores unless they are supplied in modesty bags by 9 September.
In a statement published yesterday, the retailer explained it had told the publishers of the titles Front, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo that unless they supplied their publications in bags that covered up potentially offensive images, it would stop stocking them. As a temporary measure, Co-op stores are using opaque screens to obscure the magazines until the deadline is reached.
Steve Murrells, chief executive of retail at The Co-operative Group, said: “As a community-based retailer we have listened to the concerns of our customers and members, many of whom say they object to their children being able to see overt sexual images in our store. While we have tried to mitigate the likelihood of young children seeing the images with a number of measures in store, the most effective way of doing this is for these magazines to be put in individual sealed modesty bags.”
Jo Swinson, minister for women and equalities, said the move by the retailer was “very welcome”. She added: “Adults should be left to make up their own decisions about what legal sexual images they look at, but the place for these is not next to the sweets at children’s eye level.”
A spokesman for the Professional Publishers Association, which represents the publishers of the magazines identified, said the “titles are not created for, or marketed to, children”.
He added: “Publishers support the guidelines on the appropriate display of men’s lifestyle magazines, which have been drawn up with the National Federation of Retail Newsagents and endorsed by the Home Office.”