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Retailers at war with mums over lads mags

February 23, 2011

While other top UK retailers have agreed to put “lads’ mags” out of the sight-lines of children, stationary store WHSmith is refusing to follow suit. BP garages, the Co-op, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco have all agreed to put the saucy magazines on the top shelf and put plain covers over their front page pics.

The move comes after pressure from parenting groups which say children are being exposed to sexual content from an early age. WHSmith has refused to change their positioning of the magazines, however, and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents has also claimed that they cannot tell independently run shops how to operate.

The campaign is being headed by parenting website Mumsnet, which found that mothers are increasingly uneasy about their children seeing pictures of scantily-clad women whenever they enter a newsagent. The magazines are displayed on shelves low enough for children to see them, according to 82 percent of the mothers surveyed.

Comments from mums on the website included one complaining that she had to explain to her daughter why there were two naked women on a magazine cover while they were queuing for the till. Another said that it was unreasonable that she had no choice what images her child sees.

WHSmith claims is has restrictions in place that are sufficient enough to protect children. The retailer said all men’s magazines are displayed at a minimum height of 1.2 metres, which is the chest height of an average adult.

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