Tesco Pledges to Curb Sale of `Lads’ Mags’ to Adults at Stores

Tesco Plc (TSCO), the U.K.’s largest grocer, will restrict the sale of so-called lads’ mags to people over 18 and ensure they are displayed in a way that children cannot see the covers that typically feature scantily clad women in sexually provocative poses.

Tesco also said it has won agreements from the publishers of some of the magazines that the covers will be more modest from now on, according to an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg News. Bauer Media Group’s Zoo magazine confirmed the changes to its cover.

Tesco has come under pressure to stop selling the magazines from U.K. women’s rights groups that claim they are degrading to women and expose children to oversexualized images. British actress Romola Garai has backed a day of action on Aug. 24 when activists will visit Tesco stores to inform customers about their concerns.

Tesco is the only one of the big four supermarkets not to use so-called modesty bars, or opaque screens that only allow shoppers to see the magazine’s name. Wal Mart Stores Inc (WMT)’s Asda, J Sainsbury Plc (SBRY) and William Morrison Supermarkets (MRW) Plc introduced the screens years ago after customers complained about the magazines.

Tesco today said it won’t introduce the screens, preferring to “ensure these titles are always placed on the back tier of the magazine shelves, so that the cover is obscured with only the title visible.”

Co-Operative Group Ltd. has given the publishers of Front, Nuts, Loaded and Zoo until Sept. 9 to put their magazines into so-called sealed modesty bags or they will be withdrawn from sale in the over 4,000 co-operative stores.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gabi Thesing in London at gthesing@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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