The NFRN’s code of practice on displaying top shelf titles.

With the expressed permission of the publishers of adult top-shelf titles, the NFRN recommends the following Code of Practice:

Adult Top-Shelf Titles:
  • Adult Titles should be displayed on the Top Shelf only and out of the reach of children
  • Adult Titles should not be sold to any person under the age of 18 years.
  • Adult Titles should only be acquired from bona fide trade channels (on the basis that these will have been vetted by the suppliers’ lawyers for compliance with legislation)
  • Care and sensitivity should be exercised over the display of Adult Titles with explicit front covers

Members are also advised to be responsive to the views of their customers and, in particular they are advised that they are not obliged to stock these titles if they have objections on religious, moral or other grounds.

Other titles with front covers or content that may offend some customers

Although these are not top-shelf titles, we do urge members to be sensitive to the concerns of consumers, when they are advised to you. This often is in relation to the display of titles with front covers and/or content that may be inappropriate and may cause offence particularly if displayed at a young person’s eye-level or below.

To minimise complaints from consumers, without adversely affecting the sale of these titles, we recommend that:

  • You do not display them at children’s eye level or below to ensure they are not in the direct sight and reach of children.
  • Where display space restraints preclude the above, that titles with front covers (words, pictures or photographs) that may cause concern are part-overlapped with other titles so as to minimise the potential to offend
  • Keep a log of consumer complaints and regularly review titles that have caused offence
  • Report such titles by taking a photograph and emailing it to brian@nfrn.org.uk who will discuss the concern with the news supply chain.
Other Titles and National Newspapers:

The size of some titles preclude them being displayed from a magazine rack. However, with a little common-sense you can still minimise consumer complaints about titles with front covers that may cause offence, for instance:

  • You can fold newspapers in half so that the masthead and price is exposed, but the front cover picture is not.
  • On a plinth display, you can overlap newspapers with other newspapers to leave the masthead and price exposed but not the front page picture.
  • Where a title carries a masthead on the back page, as well as the front, you can display the back page uppermost.

By following this advice, it is most unlikely that you will adversely affect the sale of any title. On the contrary, by making your customers aware that you adopt a “family friendly” policy on display, you may find that parents with children are much happier to shop in your store.

Remember. It’s your business and you cannot be forced to stock any title that you and your customers find objectionable.

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