Walmart: Cosmopolitan magazine will no longer be in checkout lane

Walmart takes stricter stance on gun sales

Cosmopolitan magazine will no longer be found in Walmart's (WMT) checkout line. 

The nation's biggest retailer is yielding to pressure from an activist group that says it's been working behind the scenes with Walmart for months to make checkout aisles "family-friendly and sexploitation-free."

In a victory statement posted on its website, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation said the retailer's decision means that in more than 5,000 stores across the U.S., people "will no longer be automatically exposed to Cosmo's hypersexualized and degrading article titles."

"Walmart will continue to offer Cosmopolitan to customers that wish to purchase the magazine, but it will no longer be located in the checkout aisles. While this was primarily a business decision, the concerns raised were heard," Meggan Kring, a spokesperson for the retailer, said in an emailed statement.

Walmart follows Kroger (KR), the nation's largest supermarket chain, which said earlier this month that it would pull publications that focus on assault-style rifles from its shelves

"All of these magazines will be moved, in isolation, to the magazine racks," Haley Halverson, NCSE's vice president of advocacy and outreach, told a Facebook live session on Tuesday. 

NCSE, up until 2015 called Morality in Media, has for years campaigned to knock Cosmo from store shelves, likening its content to pornography. The group in 2015 succeeded in getting two major chains -- RiteAid and Delhaize America, which owns Hannaford Stores and Food Lion -- to put the magazine behind blinders in their stores. 

Cosmopolitan is "a bible for fun, fearless females that reaches more than 18 million readers a month," according to its website. At one point a family-oriented publication, it transformed into a magazine geared for single women under Helen Gurley Brown, who took the helm as its editor-in-chief in 1965. 

Reached for comment, Hearst Media did not address Walmart's decision, but defended Cosmopolitan as having "award-winning content produced by leading female journalists." 

"We are proud of all that the brand has achieved for women around the world in the areas of equality, health, relationships, career, politics and social issues," a spokesperson for the publication emailed.