On 17 December 1918, Jan Gebethner and Jakub Mortkowicz, well-known booksellers, established Polskie Towarzystwo Księgarni Kolejowych RUCH [RUCH Polish Society of Rail Bookhouses]. Their company was based on trafikas – modern train station kiosks offering press, tobacco and small goods. The Saciety aimed at popularization of reading in the society which was then reviving after the war.
During that time it was an innovative and pioneering endeavour which gave life to one of the biggest enterprises in Poland. The first kiosk was opened in January 1919 at a platform of the Vienna Railway station in Warsaw. In less than a year, over 60 kiosks and bookshops were opened. RUCH developed quickly. It took over a competitive company called “Czytajcie” and transformed into a joint stock company. In 1935, it was the only nationwide press sales network and it consisted of 700 points of sale: kiosks, stands and stores.
In 1969 Centralny Zarząd Upowszechniania Prasy i Książki RUCH [RUCH Central Board for Promotion of Press and Books] was transformed into Zjednoczenie Upowszechniania Prasy i Książki RUCH [RUCH Union of Promotion of Press and Books]. It included a foreign trade centre, RUCH companies dealing with popularization of press and books, specialist trade, publishing and printing companies as well as five commercial divisions at Polish information and culture centres abroad. Robotnicza Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza “Prasa-Książka-Ruch” [Press-Book-Ruch Workers’ Publishing Cooperative] was created in 1971 as a result of merger of RUCH and Robotnicza Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza “Prasa”.
On 2 March 1990, the Sejm adopted an Act on liquidation of Robotnicza Spółdzielnia Wydawnicza (RSW) “Prasa-Książka-Ruch”. On 29 April 1991, the Minister of Industry issued an order on the basis of which a new state company was created under the name Przedsiębiorstwo Kolportażowo-Handlowe RUCH [RUCH Distribution and Trade Enterprise]. It was then transformed into a joint-stock company wholly owned by the State Treasury under the name RUCH. The new company took over the assets of the liquidated RSW “Prasa-Książka-Ruch”. 26 divisions and 188 lower-level organizational units were formed, which were divided into teams and regional offices providing retail and wholesale commercial services.
On 22 December 2006, RUCH had its successful debut on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. In the opening session, the RUCH shares were sold for 116% of their issue price. Entering the Warsaw Stock Exchange allowed the Company to gain funds for modernization and further development of its own retail chain and implementation of IT solutions.
Another stage of changes started in 2010. Lurena Investments B.V., an investment fund managed by the US financial group ETON PARK, purchased a controlling stake in Ruch from the Polish state and in 2011 it delisted the company from the Warsaw Stock Exchange. At present, RUCH S.A. is in 100 per cent a private-owned company. After being delisted from the Warsaw Stock Exchange, the company underwent one of the biggest restructuring processes in the history of the Polish economy.
In July, 2017, on the eve of the celebration of the 100th anniversary, the company was indirectly acquired by Igor Chalupec, Chairman of the Board of RUCH SA
Currently RUCH S.A. is a modern company with a tradition that has existed on the Polish market for 100 years. From the beginning of its existence, the company specialized in distribution of the press, becoming one of the largest distributors in Poland. Currently, it offers approximately 3750 press titles. The RUCH fleet travels daily over 300,000 kilometers regularly delivering press to over 15,000 points located throughout the country, which allows Ruch to offer its Clients solutions ensuring timeliness and high quality of services provided.
RUCH S.A. is also one of the main players in small format retail sales with its wide network of kiosks and press salons covering the entire country. In addition to the press, cigarettes, public transport tickets, the kiosks also offer food and non-food impulse products as well as top-ups and starters for mobile phones. As part of its offer, the company introduced two own brands – My Way (food) and meio (non-food).
To meet the market trends and the increasing expectations of customers RUCH SA develops services in its network, becoming a mini-service center. The company’s flagship service is a courier service called ‘Paczka w RUCHu’. In addition, in cooperation with external partners RUCH provides at its locations such services as: bill payment, registration of starters, motor insurance, ATM withdrawals, international transfers or cashback.
Besides press distribution and development of own network, RUCH S.A. also carries out business services, such as logistics, warehousing and packaging. In this area, Customers can benefit from the pallet shipments, small and courier shipments throughout Poland, as well as comprehensive services for the process of importing goods, optimization of inventory or completion.