x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Upmarket nurseries to roll out across the Emirates

Kidville, a high-end kids' nursery, is expanding across the Emirates to meet growing demand.

Nurseries in Dubai say the shortage is caused by an increasing number of families moving to the emirate and a jump in the number of working mothers. Amy Leang / The National
Nurseries in Dubai say the shortage is caused by an increasing number of families moving to the emirate and a jump in the number of working mothers. Amy Leang / The National

An upmarket nursery concept is to begin a major expansion plan across the Emirates in response to growing pre-school demand.

Kidville, which has one centre in Dubai, aims to open 10 additional facilities across the UAE by 2015, with two centres to launch in the coming weeks.

Demand for nursery and primary-school places is soaring in Dubai, as a baby boom before the global downturn now puts pressure on places.

Nurseries say the shortage is caused by an increasing number of families moving to the emirate and a jump in the number of working mothers.

"The demand is increasing from families here and population among expats with children is growing, so we felt that the overall trend is up," said Doug MacLennan, the managing director of Kidville UAE.

The company intends to open its second store at MotorCity's Fox Hill Shopping Centre on Sunday and another at Uptown Mirdiff Grand Piazza on June 5.

Investment in each facility is expected to be in the range of US$500,000 (Dh1.8 million) to US$900,000, Mr MacLennan said.

Kidville acts as a multi-purpose service for parents, offering a children's salon, a retail space with the latest fashions and toys, as well as educational classes, birthday parties and sports events.

The classes cater for newborns through to six-year-olds and include gym, art, music, dance and even a Kidville University for budding academics.

"We speak to parents across the UAE every day and so many have encouraged us to open a Kidville in their neighbourhood", said Monica Malhotra, Mr MacLennan's co-managing partner.

The US brand was launched in Jumeirah Beach Residence in Dubai last July on the understanding that parents would be prepared to pay a little more to enrol their children into a premium nursery.

Retailers throughout the UAE are now trying to tap into this willingness by parents to spend more, with a large part of Dubai Mall dedicated to children, selling high-end fashion labels such as Burberry, Diesel and Tommy Hilfiger.

The Chalhoub Group, the regional partner for numerous premium brands including Louis Vuitton and Chanel, last week opened a new concept for children in Abu Dhabi Mall called Katakeet.

The fashion store, which has been designed and fitted to appeal to children, offers collections from designer brands such as Ralph Lauren, Baby Dior, Fendi and Tartine et Chocolat. Kidville is expected to launch an Abu Dhabi centre next year, following the successful roll-out of its two new facilities in Dubai, Mr MacLennan said.

rjones@thenational.ae