text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation

The Entertainer group acquires the Early Learning Centre


The Entertainer group, the fastest-growing, family-owned high street toy retailer in the UK, announces the acquisition of the early learning centre (ELC) from Mothercare.

ELC operates within 80 Mothercare stores in the UK, 400 stores internationally via franchise partners and online through its website, www.elc.co.uk. The acquisition also includes its portfolio of iconic British toy brands such as Happyland.

This follows an exciting year of growth for The Entertainer, which saw 16 new stores open in the UK, 5 more internationally and the acquisition of Spanish toy retailer, Poly, adding a further 57 stores to its portfolio. The addition of ELC sees the business continue its ambitious growth agenda into 2019.

Gary Grant, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer, comments, “We are delighted to add ELC to The Entertainer family. It comes with a rich history as a much-loved British brand, supporting parents and grandparents with their children’s early years’ learning, development and play. We will look to bring new life to the product offering whilst maintaining the high level of quality ELC is renowned for. By combining our experience with that of ELC’s passionate and capable partners around the world we look forward to re-invigorating the brand for generations to come.”

View all Press releases

For further press information and to book interview time with Gary Grant, please contact the press office on: [email protected]

About the Entertainer

The Entertainer was founded in 1981 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire by husband and wife team, Gary and Catherine Grant, who instilled the driving force and mission; to be the best-loved toyshop – one child, one community at a time. Today, it continues to be a privately-owned company and is renowned for being the largest independent toy retailer in the UK with a total of 145 stores.

As well as a strong High Street presence, The Entertainer has a successful website platform (TheToyShop.com) which offers a 30-minute click and collect service and has 22 million visits annually and growing. The Entertainer is also recognised for its charitable giving. Each year it tithes 10% of its net annual profit to charity, in addition employees are encouraged to donate directly through Payroll Giving. The Entertainer is also an active member of the Pennies scheme, the digital upgrade of the traditional charity box, which enables customers to donate a few pence to charity at the point of sale when paying by card. On average, this generates £5,000 of customer donations to Children’s hospitals each week. The Entertainer currently employs over 1200 staff across the stores and a further 160 in the Head Office in Amersham, Buckinghamshire.

The Entertainer was also ranked 49th in the prestigious Sunday Times “100 Best Companies to work for” in 2019.