October 28, 2010, 1:46 PM

Gap launches more European online retailing

Gap Inc. is expanding aggressively into Europe with nine new online countries.

Lead Photo

Gap Inc. is moving ahead to expand aggressively online in Europe.

This morning, Gap, No. 23 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, launched shipping for its Gap and Banana Republic brands for online shoppers in nine additional European countries, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the Netherlands. Gap already has e-commerce sites in other parts of Europe such as in the United Kingdom.

Gap will offer fulfillment to the additional countries, but visitors must shop the U.K. site in English and pay in British pounds. Gap didn’t say when or if it will build separate sites for other European countries.

 

 

With the rollout of more countries, Gap has plans to eventually offer e-commerce sites and shipping to more than 80 countries, the retailer says. “More customers throughout Europe now have access to our brands,” says Gap Europe president Stephen Sunnucks. “The European distribution center enables us to offer an exceptional customer experience within Europe and establish the foundation to continue to expand online shopping.”

All of Gap’s European sites will feature universal shopping cart technology. For now European shoppers who make purchases on Gap’s U.K. site and pay in British pounds will pay an introductory shipping rate of 6 British pounds (US$9.55). All orders will be shipped from Gap’s fulfillment center in Stafford, England.

Next year Gap also will continue expanding its European reach by offering shipping to more than a dozen additional European countries, though the company didn’t say which ones. In early 2011, European customers outside the UK will have the ability to shop in Euros, while U.K. customers can continue to shop in pounds, the retailer says.

The rollout out of Gap online to more foreign countries is an essential part of Gap’s plans to add about $1 billion in new annual e-commerce sales and more than $500 million in additional operating income within three years to four years, the retailer says. Gap also plans to continue expansion into China, including introducing multichannel operations, and expects to eventually roll out Gap Online in Japan, Gap Inc. Direct President Toby Lenk said earlier this month at Gap’s investor day meeting in New York.

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