Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 13.2 million residents within the city limits, 17 million within the urban area and 20 million within the metropolitan area. Moscow is one of Russia's federal cities. Moscow is the major political, economic and scientific center of Russia and Eastern Europe, as well as the largest city on the European continent. By broader definitions, Moscow is among the world's largest cities, being the 14th largest metro area, the 18th largest agglomeration, the 14th largest urban area, the 11th largest by population within city limits worldwide. According to Forbes 2013, Moscow has been ranked as the ninth most expensive city in the world by Mercer and has one of the world's largest urban economies, being ranked as an alpha global city according to the Globalization and World Cities Research Network, is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. Moscow is the coldest megacity on Earth.
It is home to the Ostankino Tower, the tallest free standing structure in Europe. By its territorial expansion on July 1, 2012 southwest into the Moscow Oblast, the area of the capital more than doubled, going from 1,091 to 2,511 square kilometers, resulting in Moscow becoming the largest city on the European continent by area. Moscow is situated on the Moskva River in the Central Federal District of European Russia, making it Europe's most populated inland city; the city is well known for its architecture its historic buildings such as Saint Basil's Cathedral with its colorful architectural style. With over 40 percent of its territory covered by greenery, it is one of the greenest capitals and major cities in Europe and the world, having the largest forest in an urban area within its borders—more than any other major city—even before its expansion in 2012; the city has served as the capital of a progression of states, from the medieval Grand Duchy of Moscow and the subsequent Tsardom of Russia to the Russian Empire to the Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation.
Moscow is a seat of power of the Government of Russia, being the site of the Moscow Kremlin, a medieval city-fortress, today the residence for work of the President of Russia. The Moscow Kremlin and Red Square are one of several World Heritage Sites in the city. Both chambers of the Russian parliament sit in the city. Moscow is considered the center of Russian culture, having served as the home of Russian artists and sports figures and because of the presence of museums and political institutions and theatres; the city is served by a transit network, which includes four international airports, nine railway terminals, numerous trams, a monorail system and one of the deepest underground rapid transit systems in the world, the Moscow Metro, the fourth-largest in the world and largest outside Asia in terms of passenger numbers, the busiest in Europe. It is recognized as one of the city's landmarks due to the rich architecture of its 200 stations. Moscow has acquired a number of epithets, most referring to its size and preeminent status within the nation: The Third Rome, the Whitestone One, the First Throne, the Forty Soroks.
Moscow is one of the twelve Hero Cities. The demonym for a Moscow resident is "москвич" for male or "москвичка" for female, rendered in English as Muscovite; the name "Moscow" is abbreviated "MSK". The name of the city is thought to be derived from the name of the Moskva River. There have been proposed several theories of the origin of the name of the river. Finno-Ugric Merya and Muroma people, who were among the several Early Eastern Slavic tribes which inhabited the area, called the river Mustajoki, it has been suggested. The most linguistically well grounded and accepted is from the Proto-Balto-Slavic root *mŭzg-/muzg- from the Proto-Indo-European *meu- "wet", so the name Moskva might signify a river at a wetland or a marsh, its cognates include Russian: музга, muzga "pool, puddle", Lithuanian: mazgoti and Latvian: mazgāt "to wash", Sanskrit: májjati "to drown", Latin: mergō "to dip, immerse". In many Slavic countries Moskov is a surname, most common in Bulgaria, Russia and North Macedonia. There exist as well similar place names in Poland like Mozgawa.
The original Old Russian form of the name is reconstructed as *Москы, *Mosky, hence it was one of a few Slavic ū-stem nouns. As with other nouns of that declension, it had been undergoing a morphological transformation at the early stage of the development of the language, as a result the first written mentions in the 12th century were Московь, Moskovĭ, Москви, Moskvi, Москвe/Москвѣ, Moskve/Moskvě. From the latter forms came the modern Russian name Москва, a result of morphological generalisation with the numerous Slavic ā-stem nouns. However, the form Moskovĭ has left some traces in many other languages, such as English: Moscow, German: Moskau, French: Moscou, Georgian: მოსკოვი, Latvian: Maskava, Ottoman Turkish: Moskov, Tatar: Мәскәү, Mäskäw, Kazakh: Мәскеу, Mäskew, Chuvash: Мускав, etc. In a similar manner the Latin name Moscovia has been formed it became a collo
Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
Hospitality refers to the relationship between a guest and a host, wherein the host receives the guest with goodwill, including the reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers. Louis, chevalier de Jaucourt describes hospitality in the Encyclopédie as the virtue of a great soul that cares for the whole universe through the ties of humanity. Hospitality ethics is a discipline. Derives from the Latin hospes, meaning "host", "guest", or "stranger". Hospes is formed from hostis, which means "stranger" or "enemy". By metonymy the Latin word ` Hospital' means guest's lodging, an inn. Hospes/hostis is thus the root for the English words host, hospice and hotel. In ancient cultures hospitality involved welcoming the stranger and offering him food and safety. In Ancient Greece, hospitality was a right, with the host being expected to make sure the needs of his guests were met; the ancient Greek term xenia, or theoxenia when a god was involved, expressed this ritualized guest-friendship relation.
In Greek society a person's ability to abide by the laws of hospitality determined nobility and social standing. The Stoics regarded hospitality as a duty inspired by Zeus himself. In India and Nepal hospitality is based on the principle Atithi Devo Bhava, meaning "the guest is God"; this principle is shown in a number of stories where a guest is revealed to be a god who rewards the provider of hospitality. From this stems the Indian or Nepal practice of graciousness towards guests at home and in all social situations; the Tirukkuṛaḷ, an ancient Indian work on ethics and morality, explains the ethics of hospitality through its verses 81 through 90, dedicating a separate chapter on it. Judaism praises hospitality to strangers and guests based on the examples of Abraham and Lot in the Book of Genesis. In Hebrew, the practice is called hachnasat orchim, or "welcoming guests". Besides other expectations, hosts are expected to provide nourishment and entertainment for their guests, at the end of the visit, hosts customarily escort their guests out of their home, wishing them a safe journey.
Abraham set the pace as providing 3 things: Achila Shtiya Linah The initial letters of these Hebrew words spell Aishel.. In Christianity, hospitality is a virtue, a reminder of sympathy for strangers and a rule to welcome visitors; this is a virtue found in the Old Testament, for example, the custom of the foot washing of visitors or the kiss of peace. It was taught by Jesus in the New Testament. Indeed, Jesus said; some Western countries have developed a host culture based on the bible. John Paul II writes, "Welcoming our brothers and sisters with care and willingness must not be limited to extraordinary occasions but must become for all believers a habit of service in their daily lives". Individuals are treated as favored guests in the liberal Catholic tradition. Honored guests receive first parlance, religious clergy second parlance, important persons third parlance. Clergy and followers of Christ received parlance and some may have turned away from hospitality and serving, since active service requires detachment from material goods, family connections, physical comforts.
Hospitality is a meeting of minds, it is an openness to the familiar and meet to discuss and question the mystery of self, social events, nature and to God. Any guest should never made to feel or see that they are causing undue extra labor by their intrusion or presence, it is always polite to ask about religious convictions. John Paul II said: "Only those who have opened their hearts to Christ can offer a hospitality, never formal or superficial but identified by "gentleness" and "reverence"." In reference to Biblical scripture as a sign of politeness to always come to the defense and aid to those who give a account of hope and those interested. Christ expanded the meaning of brother and neighbor to include the stranger, that he or she be treated like a follower with and for hospitality and mutual help, if the believer in Christ or whom may be a messenger of god either needed help, circumstances made it difficult to interpret and being uncertain of whether a individual is a believer in Christ and god.
One of the main principles of Pashtunwali is Melmastia. This is the display of hospitality and profound respect to all visitors without any hope of remuneration or favour. Pashtuns will go to great lengths to show their hospitality. Islam recommends one another to say peace be upon you Assalamu Alaikum to one another as Muhammad had said, Muslims are obliged to treat their guest with kindness and peace prisoners, As Muhammad had said in authentic sources and verses from the Quran Abu Aziz ibn Umair reported: I was among the prisoners of war on the day of the battle of Badr. Muhammad had said, "I enjoin you to treat the captives well." After I accepted Islam, I was among the Ansar and when the time of lunch or dinner arrived, I would feed dates to the prisoners for I had been fed bread due to the command of Muhammad. Invite to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, he felt dampness, although the surface was dry. He said: "O owner of the food
A travel agency is a private retailer or public service that provides travel and tourism related services to the public on behalf of suppliers such as activities, car rentals, cruise lines, railways, travel insurance, package tours. In addition to dealing with ordinary tourists, most travel agencies have a separate department devoted to making travel arrangements for business travelers. There are travel agencies that serve as general sales agents for foreign travel companies, allowing them to have offices in countries other than where their headquarters are located; the modern travel agency first appeared in the second half of the 19th century with its root in 1758 as establishment of Cox & Kings Ltd. In the year 1970, Cox & Kings the longest established travel company centered its focus on its business of travel and tourism. Thomas Cook established a chain of agencies in the last quarter of the 19th century, in association with the Midland Railway, they not only in addition, represented other tour companies.
Other British pioneer travel agencies were Dean & Dawson, the Polytechnic Touring Association, the Co-operative Wholesale Society. The oldest travel agency in the United States is Brownell Travel. Travel agencies became more commonplace with the development of commercial aviation, starting in the 1920s. Travel agencies catered to middle and upper class customers, but the post-war boom in mass-market package holidays resulted in the proliferation of travel agencies on the main streets of most British towns, catering to a working class clientele looking for a convenient way to book overseas beach holidays. A travel agency's main function is to act as an agent, selling travel products and services on behalf of a supplier. Unlike other retail businesses, they do not keep a stock in hand, unless they have pre-booked hotel rooms and/or cabins on a cruise ship for a group travel event such as a wedding, honeymoon, or a group event. A package holiday or a ticket is not purchased from a supplier unless a customer requests that purchase.
The holiday or ticket is supplied to the agency at a discount. The profit is therefore the difference between the advertised price which the customer pays and the discounted price at which it is supplied to the agent; this is known as the commission. In many countries, all individuals or companies that sell tickets are required to be licensed as a travel agent. In some countries, airlines have stopped giving commissions to travel agencies. Therefore, travel agencies are now forced to charge a percentage premium or a standard flat fee, per sale. However, some companies pay travel agencies a set percentage for selling their product. Major tour companies can afford to do this, because if they were to sell a thousand trips at a cheaper rate, they would still come out better than if they sold a hundred trips at a higher rate; this process benefits both parties. It is cheaper to offer commissions to travel agents rather than engage in advertising and distribution campaigns without using agents. Other commercial operations are undertaken by the larger chains.
These can include the sale of in-house insurance, travel guide books, public transport timetables, car rentals, the services of an on-site bureau de change, dealing in the most popular holiday currencies. A travel agent is supposed to offer impartial travel advice to the customer, as well as coordinating travel details and assisting the customer in booking travel. However, this function disappeared with the mass market package holiday, some agency chains seemed to develop a "holiday supermarket" concept, in which customers choose their holiday from brochures on racks and book it from a counter. Again, a variety of social and economic changes have now contrived to bring this aspect to the fore once more with the advent of multiple, no-frills, low-cost airlines. Traditionally, travel agencies' principal source of income was, continues to be, commissions paid for bookings of car rentals, cruise lines, railways, sightseeing tours, tour operators, etc. A fixed percentage of the main element of the price is paid to the agent as a commission.
Commissions may vary depending on the type of the supplier. Commissions are not paid on the tax component of the price. Travel agencies receive a large variety of bonuses and other incentives from travel and tourism related companies as inducements for travel agents to promote their products; the customer is not made aware of how much the travel agent is earning in commissions and other benefits. Other sources of income may include the sale of insurance, travel guide books, public transport timetables and money exchange. Since 1995, many airlines around the world and most airlines in the United States now do not pay any commission to travel agencies. In this case, an agency adds a service fee to the net price. Reduced commissions started in 1995 in the United States, with the introduction of a cap of $50 on return trips and $25 on one way. In 1999, European airlines began eliminating or reducing commissions, while Singapore Airlines did so in parts of Asia. In 2002, Delta Air Lines announced a zero-commission base for the U.
S. and Canada. The majority of travel agents have felt the need to protect themselves and their clients against the possibilities of commercial failure, either their own or a supplier's, they will
Palace Square, connecting Nevsky Prospekt with Palace Bridge leading to Vasilievsky Island, is the central city square of St Petersburg and of the former Russian Empire. Many significant events took place there, including the Bloody Sunday massacre and parts of the October Revolution of 1917. Between 1918 and 1944, it was known as Uritsky Square, in memory of the assassinated leader of the city's Cheka branch, Moisei Uritsky; the earliest and most celebrated building on the square, the baroque white-and-azure Winter Palace of the Russian tsars, gives the square its name. Although the adjacent buildings are designed in the Neoclassical style, they match the palace in their scale and monumentality; the opposite, southern side of the square was designed in the shape of an arc by George von Velten in the late 18th century. These plans came to fruition half a century when Alexander I of Russia envisaged the square as a vast monument to the 1812–1814 Russian victories over Napoleon and commissioned Carlo Rossi to design the bow-shaped Empire-style Building of the General Staff, which centers on a double triumphal arch crowned with a Roman quadriga.
In the centre of the square stands the Alexander Column, designed by Auguste de Montferrand. This red granite column weighs some 500 tons, it is set so well. The eastern side of the square comprises Alessandro Brullov's building of the Guards Corps Headquarters; the western side, opens towards Admiralty Square, thus making the Palace Square a vital part of the grand suite of St Petersburg squares. V. I. Pilyavsky. Palace Square in Leningrad. Moscow, 1958
President (corporate title)
The President is a leader of an organization, community, trade union, university or other group. The relationship between the president and the Chief Executive Officer varies, depending on the structure of the specific organization. In a similar vein to the Chief Operating Officer, the title of corporate President as a separate position is loosely defined; the powers of the president vary across organizations and such powers come from specific authorization in the bylaws like Robert's Rules of Order. The term "president" was used to designate someone who presided over a meeting, was used in the same way that "foreman" or "overseer" is used now, it has now come to mean "chief officer" in terms of administrative or executive duties. In addition to the administrative or executive duties in organizations, the president has the duties of presiding over meetings; such duties at meetings include: calling the meeting to order determining if a quorum is present announcing the items on the order of business or agenda as they come up recognition of members to have the floor enforcing the rules of the group putting all questions to a vote adjourning the meetingWhile presiding, the president should remain impartial and not interrupt a speaker if the speaker has the floor and is following the rules of the group.
In committees or small boards, the president votes along with the other members. However, in assemblies or larger boards, the president should vote only when it can affect the result. At a meeting, the president only has one vote; the powers of the president vary across organizations. In some organizations the president has the authority to hire staff and make financial decisions, while in others the president only makes recommendations to a board of directors, still others the president has no executive powers and is a spokesman for the organization; the amount of power given to the president depends on the type of organization, its structure, the rules it has created for itself. If the president exceeds the given authority, engages in misconduct, or fails to perform the duties, the president may face disciplinary procedures; such procedures may include suspension, or removal from office. The rules of the particular organization would provide details on who can perform these disciplinary procedures and the extent that they can be done.
Whoever appointed or elected the president has the power to discipline this officer. Some organizations may have a position of President-Elect in addition to the position of President; the membership of the organization elects a President-Elect and when the term of the President-Elect is complete, that person automatically becomes President. Some organizations may have a position of Immediate Past President in addition to the position of President. In those organizations, when the term of the President is complete, that person automatically fills the position of Immediate Past President; the organization can have such a position. The duties of such a position would have to be provided in the bylaws. Bennett, Nathan. Riding Shotgun: The Role of the COO. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press. ISBN 0-8047-5166-8. National Association of Parliamentarians®, Education Committee. Spotlight on You the President. Independence, MO: National Association of Parliamentarians®. ISBN 1-884048-15-3
Thomas Cook Group
Thomas Cook Group plc is a British global travel company. It was formed on 19 June 2007 by the merger of Thomas Cook AG, itself the successor to Thomas Cook & Son, MyTravel Group plc; the group owns a number of tour operators, as well as airlines based in the United Kingdom, Germany and Balearics. It is listed on both the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. In February 2007, it was announced that MyTravel Group plc were to merge; the companies announced they expected to make savings of over £75 million a year, following the integration of both businesses. Under the terms of the merger, the owners of Thomas Cook AG, KarstadtQuelle, owned 52% of the new group; the shareholders of MyTravel Group owned the remaining 48% share. The merger was completed in June 2007, took place through the formation of'NewCo' which purchased MyTravel and Thomas Cook and was listed on the London Stock Exchange under the name of Thomas Cook Group plc. On 14 February 2008, Thomas Cook bought booking website Hotels4U.com for £21.8 million.
On 6 March 2008, the company bought back its licence to operate the Thomas Cook brand in the Middle East and Asia from the Dubai Investment Group for an amount estimated to be around 249 million euros. In April 2008 Thomas Cook bought the luxury travel firm Elegant Resorts from its founders Geoff Moss and Barbara Catchpole for an undisclosed figure; the company took over Preston-based Gold Medal International, owner of NetFlights, in a deal worth £87 million in December 2008. On 8 March 2009 Thomas Cook signed a deal with Octopus Media Technology to host and provide an online video player for Thomas Cook TV. In Spring 2009 Thomas Cook UK signed a deal with International Entertainment Supplier The E3 Group, to supply entertainment to the group. In June 2009, Thomas Cook's majority shareholder Arcandor filed for bankruptcy, although the group was not affected. Arcandor's shares in Thomas Cook were sold by its creditor banks in September 2009. In July 2010, Thomas Cook Group bought German tourism company Öger Tours, owned by Vural Öger.
It was announced on 8 October 2011 that Thomas Cook Group was to merge its branch network with that of The Co-operative Travel to create the UK's largest travel network. The deal saw the new network 70 % - owned by 30 % - owned by Co-operative Travel. Thomas Cook's Going Places branded. On 22 November 2011, Thomas Cook shares lost about three quarters of their value on the London Stock Exchange after the company announced it was in talks with its banks to increase borrowing by some £100 million, but the shares recovered somewhat the following day. There were reports that the company was planning to close 200 of its 1,200 travel agencies and foreign exchange offices. In May 2012, Harriet Green was appointed as the chief executive officer of Thomas Cook Group, succeeding Manny Fontenla-Novoa, CEO from 2003 until August 2011. On 1 July 2013, Thomas Cook announced that it would cease publishing the Thomas Cook European Timetable, along with closure of the rest of its publishing business; the final edition of the timetable was published in August 2013, but publication resumed in early 2014 under a new publishing company not affiliated with Thomas Cook.
In February 2014 Thomas Cook Group sold Gold Medal Travel including Netflights.com to dnata for a reported £45 million. On 26 November 2014, it was announced that Green was leaving with immediate effect, that Peter Fankhauser, the COO would take over as CEO. In March 2017, Thomas Cook announced the sale of its Belgian airline operations to Lufthansa; as a result, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium was shut down by November 2017 with two aircraft and all traffic rights being handed to Brussels Airlines. Its three remaining aircraft were relocated to sister companies. In October 2006, two young British children and Robert Shepherd aged seven and six years old died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by a faulty boiler while on a holiday in Corfu booked through Thomas Cook, they were the first such deaths in the company's history. Two Thomas Cook employees were subsequently amongst 11 defendants facing manslaughter by negligence charges at a criminal trial in Greece in 2010 – both were acquitted and the company was cleared of any wrongdoing.
In 2015, a UK inquest was held into the children's deaths. After the inquest, The Mail on Sunday published a news story saying that Thomas Cook had received £3m from the owners of the hotel where the children's deaths had occurred. In response, Thomas Cook made a charitable donation of £1.5m to Unicef. However, the children's family said that they had not been consulted about this donation, which itself became the subject of criticism. In UK newspaper The Independent Joanna Bourke wrote: "Nothing Thomas Cook could do would bring back the two children killed by carbon monoxide poisoning on a Greek holiday in 2006, but the firm's handling of the case has been a lesson in how not to manage a crisis". In August 2018, a British couple and Susan Cooper aged 69 and 63 died on a Thomas Cook holiday, while staying at the Steigenberger Aqua Magic in the Red Sea resort of Hurghada. According to the Egyptian authorities, John died of a heart attack and Susan died out of shock; the couple's daughter present at the resort blamed the faulty air conditioning system at the resort.
Thomas Cook hurriedly evacuated around 300 holidaymakers staying in the same hotel after other guests started to fall ill. At the time of the merger, 52% of the shares in the new company were held by the German mail-order and department store comp