Saudi Arabia has shut down over 7,000 lingerie stores after a police raid found the shops employing men to sell the items meant to be worn by women.

Local newspapers said 7,127 shops were raided by the police after reports that they were employing men. The authorities have shut down the lingerie stores and have asked the owners to pay a fine of SR10,000 (about $2,600 or Rs 1.75 lakh), Emirates 24/7 reported.

"During visits to markets, ministry inspectors caught 7,127 shops offending the new rules," said a Suadi ministry statement. The official statement added that the government was poised to intensify the raids to ensure compliance to the rule.

In 2012, the late King Abdullah had issued a royal decree banning men from selling female ware at lingerie stores, following a series of complaint from women who said they felt uncomfortable buying wearables around "strange" men.

Since then, nearly half the lingerie shops in Saudi Arabia have shut down as undergarment stores are unable to find women to work in them.

According to the Saudi Gazette, the 2012 rule has been welcomed by Saudi women, but has hit businesses hard.