TsUM

Aleksandra Krasnova/TASS
TsUM, or Tsentralny Universalny Magazin (Central Universal Department Store), was Moscow's second most prestigious Soviet department store after the GUM. Built in 1885 to the design of two Scottish architects, Andrew Muir and Archibald Merrilees, the future TsUM was originally conceived as a fancy goods shop that also sold fabrics and hats. From the beginning, the shop set some rules that were not customary to Russian retail at the time: bargaining was not allowed, the price on the price tag was final, purchases could be returned or exchanged. Before, all retail in the city had been governed by the laws of the marketplace.

The first building of the future TsUM quickly fell into disrepair. In 1908, an amazing Neo-Gothic seven-storey edifice was erected in its stead, designed by Roman Klein. Engineer Vladimir Shukhov designed the frame of the building. Muscovites loved the new shop. Shopping at Muir and Merrilees bespoke affluence and good taste. At least it did before 1917, when the shop was nationalized. The new authorities changed the name Muir and Merrilees to TsUM, for Tsentralny universalny magazin. The offering of goods was also changed. Trained sales staff were dismissed and 200 young Komsomol activists were hired instead. The era of Muir and Merrilees was over, but TsUM lived on as Moscow's best-looking and most expensive shop.