Clothing retailer Cotton On has withdrawn a line of controversial baby clothes after public outcry, several protest groups say.

The Cotton On T-shirts and suits, which featured slogans including "The condom broke" and "They shake me", went on sale in New Zealand last month.

Last week, the T-shirts were removed from Australian shelves and the company said it "recognised that certain references are not appropriate, and will sincerely endeavour to not cross these lines again".

Lobby groups including Family First New Zealand, the National Council of Women, Vision Network, and Child Alert NZ called for a boycott of the company and yesterday reported that the line had been withdrawn from New Zealand shelves.

Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said Cotton On had emailed his group saying production would be stopped on the line and that existing items would be withdrawn.

"The Cotton On Group is an organisation that respects family, social and moral values and ... would like to announce that the issue has been taken seriously and in agreeance, willingly extends an apology to those who have been affected by the slogans," the company said.

The women's council, which began a "Cotton Off Our Kids" campaign following the release of the line, said the public outcry sent a clear message that the sexualisation of childhood would not be tolerated.

National president Elizabeth Bang said the current system of self-regulation meant retailers could push the boundaries of what was considered socially acceptable.

- NZPA