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Wal-Mart banishes bawdy mags
Retailer takes Maxim, Stuff and FHM off the shelves, citing complaints over racy contents.
May 6, 2003: 1:17 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it has stopped selling men's magazines Maxim, Stuff and FHM because the retail chain has received complaints from customers about their racy content.

A Wal-Mart spokeswoman told the New York Times that the company made the decision after "listening to our customers and associates. I know we've heard on at least one of those magazines, they weren't pleased with the offering."

Wal-Mart (WMT: up $0.50 to $56.08, Research, Estimates) has sold Maxim for the past three years and recently added FHM, the paper reported.

The Times said that the company's standards and the magazines' content have not changed, but the firm has been under pressure from Christian groups in the past for its sale of certain magazines.

In the past, Wal-Mart has refused to sell CDs that carry warning labels about explicit lyrics. Instead, the store sells sanitized versions of albums, with some songs omitted or covers redrawn to pass muster with the chain's buyers, the paper added.

The Bentonville, Ark.-based company has also declined to sell particular issues of some magazines, including the September 2001 issue of InStyle that featured an artfully arranged nude photo of the actress Kate Hudson, the Times said, citing magazine industry executives.

Maxim's May cover  
Maxim's May cover

Last year, Wal-Mart even took exception to a single photo in a compilation of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issues and decided not to sell the issue.

Maxim has the largest circulation out of the three, with an average circulation in the second half of last year of 2.5 million, and it sells an average of 848,000 copies a month on newsstands, a highly lucrative revenue stream, according to the newspaper.

But Stephen Colvin, president of Dennis Publishing USA, which owns Maxim and Stuff, told the Times that Wal-Mart only accounts for "less than 3 percent" of his company's sales at newsstands.  Top of page

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