Getting Ready For The Euro Bug

Programming computers for the new currency may cost $175 billion

The sparkling new FNAC store on Paris' Champs Elysees looks like the model for commerce in the Information Age. With its racks of software, CD listening booths, and scores of TV screens showing videos, this branch of Francois Pinault's empire draws in French youth--and plenty of tourists. At the check-out counters and in the Columbus Espresso Bar, customers pay in French francs--for now. Within 10 months, they'll have the choice to also pay with credit cards or checks in the new European currency, the euro. But like many companies across Europe, FNAC is not yet hurrying to ready its computer system and cash registers for the new money. "We're going to test first and see what happens," says a spokesman.

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