The Co-operative has this morning confirmed that it will no longer be stocking Front, Nuts and Zoo after the publishers refused to put the lads mags in sealed modesty bags.

The ban comes into effect from today, with the publications being removed from more than 4000 stores. The ruling also means that the Midweek and Sunday Sport newspapers are also being taken off the shelves.

“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,” explained Steve Murrells, chief executive retail for the Manchester-based Co-operative Group.

“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.”

The retailer initially spoke to the publishers of the magazines in July in response to concerns about the exposure of children to “overt sexual images.” Loaded has agreed to place its magazine in a modesty bag and they will be allowed to appear in store.

IPC Inspire and Bauer, which publish Zoo and Nuts said last month that they would be boycotting the Co-op, with the boss of Nuts publisher IPC Inspire stating the retailer’s stance was heading towards censorship:

“Co-op’s knee-jerk attempt to restrict access to a product that consumers have enjoyed for nearly a decade is wrong,” said Paul Williams.

“As has been widely reported in the media in recent weeks, this is no longer a question of whether or not you like men’s magazines, it is a question of how far you can restrict the public’s ability to consume free and legal media before it becomes censorship.”

Bauer, which publishes Zoo said that it had already toned down its front covers.