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. The new owner appeared at a time of tremendous changes in the media market, including also the press distribution sector. 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.
RUCH S.A. is one of the biggest press distributors in Poland. It provides services to over 10 million of customers every month. It regularly delivers press to over 20,000 points of sale and its offer includes around 3,500 press titles. Moreover, the company offers an attractive choice of e-press.
RUCH S.A. is also one of the main players in the small-format retail sales. It has over 2,200 points of sale throughout Poland. During the last years, the retail network has undergone a major change. Along with new kiosks and a new logo, a new quality of customer service has been introduced. The sales and display are now of an open character and are partially self-serviced. The small window has been replaced by a big window display which allows for a better contact between the salesperson and the customer. A wide offer of press titles and necessities is complemented by, among others, freshly brewed filtered coffee as well as MY WAY and MEIO private label brands. RUCH kiosks is also becoming a mini service centre. When doing their everyday shopping, our customers can pay their bills, purchase an insurance policy, apply for a loan or pick up a letter. Paczka w RUCHu is a very popular service which allows customers to pick up their online orders in a convenient way.