Convenience store retailers have vowed to stand by lads mags, as the debate over how, and if, they should be displayed rages on.
In C-Store’s latest online poll, just under 70% of retailers said they would not remove lads mags from sale even if publishers refused to cover them up.
“We wouldn’t stop selling lads mags because they sell well. We keep them close to the top shelf and make sure that kids who try and read them are stopped. Retailers are capable of being responsible for this . Covering them up or placing them in bags could damage sales and embarrass customers who want to buy a legal product.”
Anjalika’s East Grinstead, West Sussex
“We don’t full face lads mags and place them out of sight of children so we’ve never had a complaint. We used to sell over 20 of the monthly titles but now we only sell about four or five . I certainly wouldn’t remove them but have no problem with them being in bags or being covered up.”
The News Shop, Market Weighton, Yorkshire
The debate was started by the Co-operative Retail Trading Group which threatened to remove lads mags from sale in more than 4,000 stores unless publishers put them in sealed modesty bags, an ultimatum which the Nuts and Zoo Publishers have rejected. Nuts publisher IPC Media said the magazine was already displayed in accordance with Home Office guidelines, and that customers could buy it from other stores.
Tesco also entered the fray with a commitment to cover titles, and a new policy of not selling lads mags to under 18s. Morrisons meanwhile has called for an industry-wide approach to restricting the display of lads’ mags, and plans to start talks to encourage retailers to reach an agreement.
Jon Ellis of Town Common News in Christchurch, Dorset said that none of his customers had ever complained about lads mags. “The situation has gotten out of hand,” he said. “We keep lads mags on the top shelf and only give them half a facing so they’re only seen by people who want to see them. It’s a simple solution to the situation.”
Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman urged retailers to ask their customers how they would like to see lads mags displayed in their stores. Those retailers who wanted to take further action should talk to their news wholesaler about acquiring covers for titles. “This will help to protect you and it will also keep the pressure on publishers to act to support retailers who are coming under pressure from customers to cover these magazines,” he added.
Best practice guidance is available on the ACS website http://www.acs.org.uk.