Nursery market sees rush of early years setting sales

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Spring 2017 is proving a busy time for nursery deals, including the sale of Nursery World Award winner Jenniflowers.

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Jenniflowers has sold to Smart Preschools

Jenniflowers Preschool Nursery in Southfields has been purchased by nearby provider Smart Preschools after owner Jennifer McQuillan made plans to move to South Africa.

Ms McQuillan praised Smart's 'excellent reputation and similar ethos' to Jenniflowers, which the former childminder started in 2013.

After growing the business to employ a team of 20, in 2015 Jenniflowers won Nursery World's Business Development award.

'The transition is progressing smoothly, our precious families and amazing staff team are in sound hands,' said Ms McQuillan.

'We have worked very hard over the last decade, having created and built up an amazing childcare business, and are proud of what has been achieved.

'The Jenniflowers brand will stay so our legacy will remain in London.

'My husband and I are relocating to South Africa to be with family and will continue to work in the early years childcare sector. We are excited about growing our work with township preschools, and are interested to hear from other UK providers if they're keen to join us on this journey.'

Smart currently has one setting, Wimbledon Hill. It says its philosophy is to be 'as child-focused as possible' and it claims to be toxin-free and organic, only using toxin-free furniture.

In Kent, Abacus Children’s Nurseries is changing hands after the previous owners, Linda Manning and Karen Phillips, decided to retire.

The group of two nurseries - New Barn registered for 33 children, with the second in Chatham registered for 80 - was bought by catering manager and former nursery nurse Audra Uikiene.

A regional chain has snapped up Redroofs, a former children’s day nursery in Bristol, which was closed after allegations of forcefeeding of a child, which the owners denied. It has been sold to Little Acorns & Stepping Stones, which now has nine settings located and in and around Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

A Devon nursery business is also expanding after Millswood Day Nursery in Ivybridge, snapped up nearby Woodlanders Day Nursery.

Rachel Howing-Nicholls, who has run Millswood since 2010, received a £167,500 loan from Santander Corporate and Commercial to purchase the freehold.

Both nurseries are rated 'Outstanding' by Ofsted and between them will offer spaces for 60 children aged between two and five.

Ms Howing-Nicholls, said, 'The purchase of Woodlanders will secure the long-term future of the nursery and provide peace of mind to the numerous parents who rely on the nursery and the staff who work there.'

She added that she is 'extremely excited to have the chance to invest for growth'.

Last month, the UK's largest nursery group, Busy Bees, bought Treetops' 61 settings to take its number of childcare places to 28,500. And in February, ICP Nurseries secured an £8m investment to expand its business of six nurseries in London and the South East.

  • Read more about the nursery market in Property Forecast in the next issue of Nursery World, published on 17 April.
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