LADS’ mags are being hidden from shoppers’ eyes in Sunderland convenience stores.
The Co-operative has given publishers an ultimatum to cover up in “modesty bags,” or face having them removed from shelves across 4,000 stores.
Titles such as Front, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo – known for their pictures of scantily-clad models – have been given until September 9 to deliver magazines in pre-sealed opaque bags.
Wearside Co-op branches, such as Ethel Avenue, Castletown, have already put black boards in front of the publications on their shelves.
Steve Murrels, retail chief executive, 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 stores.”
Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities, said: “Many parents aren’t comfortable with the way that sexualised imagery has become like wallpaper – everywhere from the bus stop to the corner shop.
“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.
“I hope other retailers will follow the Co-operative’s lead.”
However, the Professional Publishers Association said: “Men’s lifestyle magazines are mainstream titles enjoyed by a readership of millions and feature content to reflect the diverse interests of the nation’s young men.
“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.”
The Echo went to Farringdon Co-op, North Moor Road, to get Wearsiders’ views.
“I think the content doesn’t go too far,” said Sonia Oliver, 28, of Thornhill Close.
“But I still think that they should cover them up, and put them somewhere out of reach of small children.”
Jemma Branem, 23, of Thornhill Close, said that lads’ mags such as Zoo and Nuts have “nothing to be ashamed of.” Isabell Colley, 67, of East Herrington, said: “Either sell them or not sell them, the content isn’t going to change, that is the problem.”
Christopher Hall, 18, also of East Herrington, said: “Usually you see magazines with men on them on lower shelves than magazines with women on the cover. Why is that?”
He added: “I’m not sure who will buy them now.
“No-one will buy them in a bag, it would just seem weird to do that.”
Lakeside Village resident Alan Henderson, 55, supported the Co-op’s stance. “I would stop kids from seeing them,” he said.