It's easy to understand why Gap would rather expand its U.K.-based E-tail operations instead of opening up shop on the Continent. Labor costs, tax issues and IT centralization are high on the list of reasons. But forcing customers to use somebody else's currency seems like cutting one corner too many. If companies in China and Japan can each sell to customers in the other country—and in the customer's local currency—why can't Gap work out how to do the same thing?
Gap announced Wednesday (Feb. 9) that it is expanding its European E-Commerce site to ship to eight new countries. But the new customers in Austria, Estonia, Finland, Luxembourg, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia and Slovenia will have to pay in British pounds—even though all eight countries use the euro, along with seven other European countries served by www.gap.eu. It's not as if Gap doesn't know what a euro is; the company owns stores in France.