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David Jones, Disney partnership: Childrenswear floor gets revamp



David Jones has a new target demographic in its sights – Aussie kids.

And the department store giant is hoping to win them over with a world-first collaboration with Disney, which has seen the company's flagship Elizabeth Street store in Sydney's CBD completely transformed.

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The magical transformation was unveiled in the media yesterday, revealing the top floor's conversion into a series of different "worlds" for kids and parents, including a 100 acre Winnie the Pooh-themed forestland complete with a giant honey tree and nursery design service for new parents.

It also boasts a Star wars-inpired Millennium Falcon cockpit, a Marvel-themed New York cityscape, a Disney Princess carousel and a "high street" of fashion and toys.

At a media conference in July, David Jones CEO David Thomas said that the new level was designed to capture a different demographic – young families – who have already flocked to the store's elaborate window showing every Christmas.

He also revealed the level would offer some exclusive products unavailable anywhere else in the world.

Walt Disney Company Australia and New Zealand chief executive Kylie Watson-Wheeler told news.com.au it was a groundbreaking way of embracing the so-called "experiential" retail trend.

"There are several ways customers can shop and buy products today, and of course one is definitely in the digital space," Ms. Watson-Wheeler told news.com.au.

"But there's an opportunity for physical retail to not only create a transaction opportunity, but also an experiential one, to give customers the opportunity to be entertained at the same time as they shop.

"It's the opportunity to immerse yourself in a space and connect with characters and storytelling that really can not be replicated."

Ms. Watson-Wheeler paid tribute to her partner, David Jones, and said that it was likely other retailers would follow the example set by the collaboration in the future.

"There's nothing like this in Australia, and probably in the world," she said.

"I certainly think other Disney markets will be inspired by what they see here – it's very special and different, and there's a real chance … to inspire customers."

Ms Watson-Wheeler said that the display involved "fairly serious infrastructure" and will be permanently in place.

The floor revamp follows David Jones' 180th birthday celebrations earlier this year, and the announcement of Elizabeth Street store's $ 200 million complete refurbishment, which will be completed by early 2020.

It has also recently announced new luxury design partnerships with Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Gucci.

Continue the conversation @carey_alexis | alexis.carey@news.com.au


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