By Ruth Addicott
The home interest sector suffered an upheaval this week with the closure of Your Home and the sudden departure of Sarah Whelan, editor of its sister title House Beautiful.
Kerryn Harper, acting editor of Your Home, will take her place, while the 13-strong team on Your Home and existing staff on House Beautiful have been told to reapply for jobs on House Beautiful.
Your Home’s editor Sue Rose is away on maternity leave.
The National Magazine Company, which owns both titles, is planning to focus on House Beautiful, review the team – which will increase by five posts – and incorporate some content from Your Home.
Duncan Edwards, managing director of NatMags, said redundancies were unlikely.
“The fairest and most appropriate thing to do was to look at the teams of House Beautiful and Your Home as one unit and work with the editor to appoint the best team for House Beautiful from that group,” he told Press Gazette.
He said NatMags had made every effort to keep the magazine alive since acquiring it as part of G+J three years ago. But despite discounting and a new look, Your Home was losing money and market share and the situation looked unlikely to change.
Your Home reported a fall of 24.5 per cent to 115,111 in the latest ABCs, the biggest overall shortfall in the home interest sector.
Edwards denied the closure signalled the end of the Changing Rooms era. “Your Home launched as a ‘me too’ title – it didn’t launch as an independently clearly articulated idea,” he said. Others claim the sector has been hit by the fall in the property market. Isobel McKenzie-Price, editorial director of IPC’s homes and gardens group, said: “The property market went through a stagnant stage during the war and that always takes a certain amount of people out of the market.” House Beautiful has also discounted heavily. It reported a decline of 11.6 per cent to 170,019 but held strong at second place in the market after IPC’s Ideal Home which sells 277,105.
Sources say NatMags will find it difficult with one specific homes title. “They will either have to launch or publish a singleton which is very difficult,” one insider commented. “The market has been so tough this spring, there are bound to be other closures.”
News of the closure came as BBC Good Homes appointed Lisa Allen as its new editor.
Allen was formerly editor of Hair magazine, acting editor of Ideal Home and deputy editor on Homes & Ideas. She takes over from former editor Julie Savill, who quit to pursue a freelance career in France. Allen said: “It’s a market I know like the back of my hand.”