Supermarket decrees lads' mags must be covered up

By Zoe Smith

Sainsbury’s has announced plans to use ‘modesty covers’ to black out the front covers of ‘salacious’ magazines.

The move, which is expected to target lads’ mags such as FHM, Nuts, Zoo and Maxim, follows the supermarket chain’s recent decision to move such magazines to the top shelves.

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury’s said: "It is part of the marketing for men’s magazines to have attractive photographs on their front covers — it helps them sell.

"Many lads’ mags — and even some women’s magazines — are quite salacious in their front covers."

The modesty covers, which will appear in Sainsbury’s stores by early summer, obscure the images and content displayed on the front of the magazine, allowing only the title to be seen.

Nuts editor Phil Hilton said: "We’re fine with it. We leave retailing magazines to the retailers. They don’t tell us what to put in them and we don’t tell them how to sell them. How they display magazines is their call.

"Where we are known, people know where these things are and they know what they are.

"Readers are enthusiastic enough so I doubt that Sainsbury’s decision will have any impact on sales."

Hilton added that Sainsbury’s new policy had come about because of the attention that the successful weekly magazines market had been receiving.

Supermarkets have been particularly successful in selling magazines, but they are also wary of offending customers.

Sainsbury’s says it receives a "handful" of complaints about magazine covers each week.

A spokesman for Zoo and FHM publisher Emap said: "It has always been our position that it is for retailers to use their judgment and discretion as they see fit in displaying and selling magazines across all the markets we publish in."

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