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TSUM: Moscow’s most fashionable department store

During my recent trip to Moscow with ‘Moscow Seasons‘ (see posts here and here), I called at TSUM (ЦУМ), Moscow’s most fashionable department store. Located in the Tverskoy District just next to The Bolshoi Theatre, TSUM is managed by the Mercury Group – Russia’s largest luxury goods distributor, with more than 20-years’ experience in fashion retail. The store has more than 110 years of history to its name and a well-deserved reputation as one the Moscow’s architectural and historic landmarks. It was in fact Russia’s first department store, founded by merchants Andrew Muir and Archibald Mirrielees. After moving from St. Petersburg to Moscow, they bought a building on the Teatralnaya Ploshad, and hired the famous Russian architect R.I. Klein to undertake the new project – the same architect who is behind the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. Then known as ‘Muir & Mirrielees’, it was the first store to house a perfumery department, even ahead of Selfridges. It later become known as TSUM (Central Department Store) during the Soviet period. The department store covers an area of 70,000 square metres and offers a welcoming environment to global travellers and international shoppers. In fact, TSUM has made a concerted effort to appeal to foreign tourists by offering in-store navigation in both English and Chinese. Today TSUM offers ready-to-wear clothing, shoes and accessories from collections of the world’s leading fashion brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino, Céline, Ralph Lauren, Kiton, Brioni, Ermenegildo Zegna, Tom Ford, Lanvin, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel, Fendi etc.; jewellery and watches by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Hublot, Chopard, Garrard, Graff, Mikimoto etc.; porcelain and homeware by Baccarat, Christofle, Lalique, Daum, as well as perfumery and cosmetics of the leading brands. The ground floor also hosts an Apple Shop – a unique retail concept offering Apple goods together with exclusive master classes and individual consultations from Apple experts. Another big draw for travellers is that this year TSUM began offering customers tax free shopping through new legislation which allows visitors from outside the Eurasian Economic Union to reclaim VAT on purchases of over 10,000 roubles on a wide variety of goods. If you visit, make sure you venture up to the uppermost floors where you will find a lovely little restaurant. The restaurant offers you the opportunity to take a break from your shopping. The floor is made from French rail boards bought at auction that were used in trains during the 1960s. Inside you can enjoy anything from oysters to borsch in a tourist-friendly environment. If you’re someone who likes to shop when they travel – as well as enjoy good food and some Russian classics – then TSUM should be on your checklist when you’re next in Moscow. Disclosure: My trip was sponsored by Moscow Seasons – a series of festivals held throughout the year in Moscow, with the support of the Government of Moscow.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. This is one of my favorite places to shop when I’m in Moscow. I’ve only been to the restaurant once, but it was a good experience so I’ll look to return when I’m next visiting the city.

    1. Yes, I don’t know how many people know about it as it is rather tucked away towards the top of the building (I think there’s just one floor above that’s used for office purposes). It’s worth a visit, certainly.

  2. I’ve been to the Bolshoi on several occasions and always wondered what that building was! Next time I’ll be sure to visit…

    1. Yes, it is a rather prime location. For those who don’t know Moscow that well, the Bolshoi is the building you see on the left hand side of the first image in this post (in the foreground).

  3. Wow, they seem to have all the leading brands under one roof. This place is making Moscow a very appealing place to go for my next city break.

  4. TSUM’s is clearly working hard to blend past and present, keeping alive Russian traditions but also moving with the times. It’s good that they are targeting tourists and it’s also great that Moscow folk can access all these luxurious brands. Certainly a place to call in when in Moscow!

  5. TSUM looks to be a destination in its own right. I guess that you could easily spend a morning there before recharging your batteries with a good lunch.

    The place also tells the story of Russia. There was an age of pre-Revolution extravagance followed by socialist conformity and now an opening up to the world. What a fascinating place.

  6. Very impressive, it looks to be the Harrods of Moscow, but perhaps with even more style and panache if that’s possible?

    I could easily spending a morning browsing. I often feel that you can get a feel for a place just by seeing what’s on the shelves and racks in the shops.

    1. Hi Lorraine… thanks for dropping by. Once you’re there, I think you would soon realise that you could easily spend a whole day there! Hard to justify, though, in a city where there is so much to see and do…

  7. Out of curiosity, does TSUM stand for something else, or is it ‘Central Department Store’? It’s a very imposing property, ornate and quite gothic in style yet with an industrial feel. It’s not surprising it’s an old one with lots of history. Interesting that it’s the first department store in Russia. Nice to see something has stood the test of time while most in the UK are disappearing.

    Sounds like a great option if you’re looking for perfume or clothing but there’s plenty of other bits and bobs too. Nice to see an Apple area. It makes me think a bit of John Lewis. I imagine with big brands it’s rather expensive here too, unless they have any more ‘highstreet’ or budget labels in there.

    It’s reassuring signs are also in English because this seems like a pretty mammoth place to try to navigate. Very impressive.

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