2Degrees will create more than 200 jobs setting up about 50 retail stores over the next 12 months, giving the moribund retail sector a fillip. The first 2degrees store opens in Sylvia Park today. Others will open on Customhouse Quay in Wellington next week and in Christchurch within the month. Chief sales officer Mark Cleary, who has previously overseen a network of 100 stores in his native Ireland, said 2degrees had modelled the stores on a "Kiwi backyard" theme. "Customers step on the 'welcome mat' when they enter the store and are greeted with signs of home; the traditional whitewash weatherboard wall, the wooden deck and garden fence. They are warm and welcoming, there is nothing sterile or clinical about them." Some stores will be owned by 2degrees and others by dealers. The company is opening the retail chain as it looks beyond the prepaid market to post-paid plans and the more lucrative business market. It unveiled a 3G service in August and its first post-paid plans, Pay Monthly, last month. "It is definitely going to help us in prepaid as well," Mr Cleary said. "We have had some fantastic relationships with Dick Smith and Harvey Norman and Warehouse Stationery ... but having that branded point-of-presence on the high street is going to help us on so many levels."
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