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Jacqueline Gold, ‘the woman who made pleasure products acceptable to mainstream society’


A journalist and author who has been reporting on the activities of lingerie and sex toy retailer Ann Summers for two decades has paid tribute to its executive chair Jacqueline Gold, who died on 16th Screenshot 2023-03-20 at 18.40.28 March aged 62.

Brothers Ralph and David Gold acquired the Ann Summers business in 1972 when it had four stores, and it became a household name after Jacqueline, David’s daughter joined the firm in 1981. It was her idea to supplement high street sales by introducing a party plan operation. This additional revenue stream helped the business expand into high street locations up and down the UK, becoming the undisputed market leader in lingerie and sex toys.

“I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Jacqueline Gold’s death,” said Dale Bradford, former editor of B2B publication Erotic Trade Only[ETO] and author of the recently published From Sex Shops To Supermarkets: How Adult Toys Became A Multi-Billion-Pound Industry. “My sincere condolences go out to her family and friends and all who knew her. She was an outstanding business leader and did so much to help the pleasure products sector become acceptable to mainstream society, paving the way for others to follow.”

Bradford devoted the first chapter of his book to Ann Summers, concluding: “Whether I arranged the chapters of this book alphabetically, chronologically, or in order of importance, Ann Summers was always going to be number one… When it comes to popularising sex toys in the UK, Ann Summers has undoubtedly been a force for good. So too has Jacqueline Gold, who has done much to legitimise the sector as a whole, acting as a figurehead and frequently popping up in the financial press, making speeches at gatherings of business leaders, and championing other female-run enterprises through her social media channels.”

From Sex Shops To Supermarkets: How Adult Toys Became A Multi-Billion-Pound Industry – chronicles the phenomenal growth of sex toys in the 21st century, and has been described as a blend of business, social history, and popular culture.

In addition to the chapter on Ann Summers, it covers the growth of online retail, the importance of PR, and the extraordinary success of Fifty Shades of Grey. It also explains how celebrity endorsements, television appearances, the influence of bloggers, and supermarkets embracing pleasure products have all played a part in the rise of sex toys in recent years.

Business publications from the UK, Europe, America, and Australia eagerly reported on the book’s February 2023 launch, and German trade magazine EAN [European Adult News] went further in its March issue, with a six-page interview with the author.

Editor Matthias Johnson also devoted his ‘Welcome’ column to Bradford’s book. “We don’t usually use the forward of EAN for promotional purposes,” Johnson wrote, “but I wholeheartedly recommend this book, not only to people working in this industry but to anybody who has an interest in the sex toy market. It is a valuable source of information, and more than that, it tells a truly engrossing story.”

Initial reviews on Amazon have also been complimentary, with one US buyer describing the writing style as “engaging and eloquent” and adding “every chapter was so incredibly interesting”.


From Sex Shops To Supermarkets: How Adult Toys Became A Multi-Billion-Pound Industry is available now in paperback(£9.99) and ebook (£4.99) formats from Amazon platforms worldwide.

About the author

Dale Bradford has been editing B2B magazines since 1995. From 2003 to 2022 he was editor of Erotic Trade Only (ETO), the only UK-based trade publication aimed at retailers of adult toys and pleasure products.