The Co-operative Group has removed copies of Front, Nuts and Zoo from its 4,000 stores following the failure of publishers to comply with its lads’ mags ultimatum.

It had given the respective publishers Kane Corporation, IPC Media and Bauer Media a deadline of September 9 to agree to put the lads’ mags in sealed modesty bags or face removal from shelves.

The Midweek and Sunday Sport newspapers have also been removed from all Co-operative stores as its publisher Sunday Sport Limited said it would not be able to provide modesty bags as it had initially pledged to.

Loaded Media and Dennis Publishing, publishers of Loaded and Bizarre magazine, agreed to put the magazine into modesty bags with just the title on view and will remain on sale.

Co-operative retail chief executive Steve Murrells said: “As a community-based retailer, we have listened to and acted upon the concerns of our customers and members, many of whom said they objected to their children being able to see overt sexual images in our stores.

“We believe individual, sealed modesty bags are the most effective way of addressing these concerns, so we will no longer be stocking the titles that have failed to meet our request. This action will make our stores more attractive to families with young children, by creating a more family-friendly shopping environment.”

However, independent retailers do not feel that modesty bags or removing lads’ mags from their stores is necessary. According to a C-Store online poll, just under 70% of retailers said they would not remove lads mags from sale if publishers refused to cover them up.

Ashley Newman of Trinity Treats in Dorset said: “I have three children and I would rather they saw a woman with no clothes on than have to explain to them some of the stories that other titles print.”