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File photo of 'lads' mags' Dave Thompson/PA Wire/Press Association Images
modesty bags

Retailer tells lads' mags: Cover up or go

The Co-operative in the UK has requested that the publishers of lads’ mags provide modesty bags, or they will stop selling the items.

A BRITISH RETAILER has told the publishers of so-called ‘lads’ mags’ to put the magazines in modesty bags – or it won’t sell them.

In a statement, the Co-operative Retail Trading Group has requested that the publishers put the magazines in sealed modesty bags or they will be withdrawn from sale in over 4,000 of the Co-operative Group’s stores.

The company introduced opaque screens on its own supermarket magazine shelves this month as an interim measure, which it says it will use until the modesty bags obscuring the front cover are used.


It made the appeal to the publishers of Front, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo, giving them until 9 September to deliver the magazines to them in the sealed bags.

The Sport newspaper has already agreed to deliver all of its editions to Co-operative stores in the bags from 9 September, following pressure from the retailer.

The retail store said:

The Co-operative is taking the action in response to growing concerns by its 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.

Steve Murrells, Chief Executive Retail for the Co-operative Group, said they had listened to the concerns of their customers and members, “many of whom say they object to their children being able to see overt sexual images in our stores”.

He said that while they 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”.

The UK’s Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson MP, said:

Exposing children to lewd pictures that portray women as sex objects is not appropriate. That’s why the Co-operative’s decision to implement the Bailey review recommendation for publications with overtly sexual images on the cover to be displayed and sold in modesty bags is very welcome.

She said that while adults should be “left to make their own decisions about what legal sexual images they look at”, the place for lads’ mags “is not next to the sweets at children’s eye-level”.

Read: Push to curb commercialisation and sexualisation of young children in the UK>

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