One of the largest magazine retailers in the U.K. has ordered magazines with overt sexual imagery to cover up their front covers with "modesty bags" or risk being withdrawn from sale.
So-called "lads' mags" - publications marketed primarily to men - such as Zoo, FHM, Nuts and Loaded have been a staple on supermarket shelves for the last few decades and have become synonymous with the sexual content and glamour model photos displayed on their front covers.
Supermarket chain the Co-operative gave an ultimatum to publishers on Monday, telling them to deliver the magazines in pre-sealed bags designed to obscure the front cover.
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If the companies do not comply before September 9 then the Co-operative - one of the U.K.'s largest magazine retailers - has threatened to cease selling the magazine at the 4000 plus stores it currently operates.
"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 stores," Steve Murrells, the chief executive of retail for The Co-operative Group, said in a press release on Monday.
"Whilst 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."
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As an interim measure, the Co-operative has introduced opaque screens on shelves to reinforce its existing policy limiting the display of such material.
The Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson MP, said on Monday that she welcomes the move and hoped other retailers will follow suit.