The home interest magazine sector faced a major shake-up this week with three of the UK’s biggest-selling titles losing their editors within days. The National Magazine Company caused a stir by poaching Sarah Whelan, deputy editor of IPC’s market-leading Ideal Home, to edit rival House Beautiful. The move coincided with the sudden departure of editor Libby Norman. NatMags issued a brief statement saying she would "pursue her career independently" of the company. Insiders say she had signed a confidentiality agreement and was unable to comment.
Meanwhile, Isobel McKenzie-Price is stepping aside as editor of Ideal Home to edit sister title Homes & Gardens, which has announced the departure of editor Matthew Line after four and a half years.
Insiders say NatMags is hoping to boost sales of House Beautiful, which was knocked off the number one spot by Ideal Home three years ago and relied heavily on bulk sales in the latest ABCs. It reported a circulation of over 192,000 in the latest results, but a news-stand sale of around 122,612. Ideal Home did not include any bulks and posted an ABC of 244,870.
McKenzie-Price claimed the gap between the two was widening and added: "I suppose they’re just after a looky-likey Ideal Home because we’ve just taken them to the cleaners." She remained upbeat, despite Homes & Gardens showing a 10.6 per cent drop year-on-year. "It has always epitomised classic English style and there’s a huge appetite for that now. It’s the Burberry effect – it is almost capturing a moment," she told Press Gazette.
By Ruth Addicott