Bargain hunters have been stripping the shelves at bankrupt German high street giant and mail order merchant Quelle.Some 18 million items are up for grabs in the closing sale. The cost of clothing and electrical appliances has been slashed by 30 per cent. Internet demand was so great the clearing sale website crashed. In the shop, there were plenty of rueful customers. “It is a huge department store, a huge mail order company. It is a pity it does not exist anymore,” said one shopper. “I know it already from the time of my childhood. We always had those catalogues at home,” another said. “We will see what happens to the employees. Perhaps they will get another job somwhere else. For us customers, it is not so bad because we can pick up bargains,” said one woman. All financial rescue efforts to save the Bavaria- based company, which once employed more than 10,000 people, have failed. The Quelle catalogue has been a must-have item in all West German households since the Second World War, and, since the fall of the Wall, in all those homes once behind the Iron Curtain.