Sheen aims to turn B into serious rival to Company

Sheen, right, says boosting B’s celebrity contacts will be a priority

Hachette Filipacchi has appointed Fran Sheen as the new editor of women’s glossy B in a bid to lift sales and turn it into a serious rival to Company.

Sheen has been deputy editor of More! since July and was instrumental in relaunching the magazine and raising its profile. She is now hoping to do the same on B by signing big-name cover stars and strengthening its coverage of high street fashion.

She told Press Gazette: “B, for a long time, maybe hasn’t had quite the direction that it needs. That’s no reflection on the current team, but what we are planning to do is make it a competitor to the other major titles, like Company.

We want to make it a major player, a major rival, which I don’t think it has been in recent years.”

B’s latest ABC was 165,431, down 14.6 per cent year-on-year, compared with Company’s 5.9 per cent rise to 330,617. “The women’s market at the moment is really exciting. There is lots going on price-wise and format-wise.

The market is wide open and anything is possible,” Sheen said.

Asked if B was likely to drop its cover price to match Company, Sheen said: “It’s something we will definitely look at, but who knows?” In terms of editorial, Sheen is hoping to strengthen the magazine’s celebrity contacts. “B hasn’t always had brilliant celeb contacts so we’ll be looking at that and really working hard to get big names on the cover. B is one of those titles that does well but is not on everyone’s radar or a magazine that everyone talks about, and that’s kind of what I want to bring to B.”

Sheen will take over from Gina Johnson, who stepped down as editor in October to work on special projects.

Prior to More!, Sheen was specials and lifestyle editor on Closer, where she was part of the launch team. She also worked in Australia as associate editor of Australian weekly celebrity magazine NW and Smash Hits! Australia, having previously edited the teen magazine Big! in the UK.

She began her career on the Colchester Evening Gazette.

Hachette Filipacchi has also hired former Marie Claire publishing director Rita Lewis to be publishing director of B and Red. Lewis was managing director of Emap’s women’s group, before it was taken over by Hachette.

By Ruth Addicott

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