It's hard to find a better symbol of change than Moscow TSUM. Built before the revolution, this store fell victim to the Communist command economy - with deficit, queues and gloomy faces. Later on, when the USSR has finally fell - TSUM began returning to its roots.
They used to call it "Tsentralnyi Universalnyi Magazin", or "Central Department Store". Yuck - what a faceless name! But then again - the state gave it, and you can't expect much creativity from bureaucrats!
It's hard to believe how everything changed these days! Today, TSUM stands for "Centralny. Universalny. Modny." - "Central. Universal. Stylish." Nice rebranding, huh? Just a mere comparison of meanings lets you feel the difference between Russia and USSR, but wait - we haven't got inside yet!
(Taken from official site)
The original store was built in 1857 by "Muir & Mirrielees" - a trading company founded by Scottish entrepreneurs. The building was itself a landmark - designed by the famous architect Roman Klein, it was the first store in Moscow with elevators.
Doesn't sound like much, right? But remember - we're talking 19th century here! Back then, it was a pure sci-fi novel, the "house of the future". Imagine visiting a mall operated by robots - you'd probably feel the same.
The commerce flourished, there were several reasons to that. First of all, it was the first middleclass department store where you could by anything from toys to furniture.
Second, "Muir & Mirrielees" was the first to offer European rules of play, such as money back policy and delivery of goods citywide. Add to this great service - and you'll know why the store was so successful!
By 1913 the store had 80 departments - compared to 44 just some decade ago. You can say it was one of retail leaders - sort of Russian "Wal-Mart". Who knows - maybe one day it'd have its branches in US...
...but then came the revolution. Bolsheviks nationalized "Muir & Mirrielees", turning it onto "MosTorg" in 1922. Later on, "MosTorg" was renamed into TSUM. This was the end of Moscow most successful department store.
I mean, it WOULD BE the end if the Soviet regime didn't fell - and I'm sure glad it did!
In 1997, TSUM was reconstructed and rebranded. No more scarcity and bad service. Since then, the trade has been flourishing!
Today, the store sells more than 400 world brands of anything from apparel to perfume. The list includes (but surely not limited to) Loro Piana, Armani Collezioni, Marni, Miu Miu, Costume National, Malo, Elie Tahari, Laundry, Corneliani, Balenciaga, Emilio Pucci, Chanel, Dior, Lancome, Guerlain, Serge Lutens, Creed, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Hermes, La Mer, La Ric, Revive, Kanebo, Aesop, L�Occitane.
Quite a lot, huh? Well, don't forget it's just a little fraction of what's really included. You'll need lots of time and some cash, so plan accordingly!
Once you're done with shopping - you have sea of possibilities on how to spend the rest of your day. The store sits right next to the city center, so take a close look at the list of Moscow sights to see which ones you can visit.
Learned enough? Time for some shopping!
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