Pewex ‘Internal Export’ Shops
Introduced in the 1970s and existing right through until the early 1990s in Poland was a chain of ‘Internal Export’ shops named Pewex (Przedsiębiorstwo Eksportu Wewnętrznego). An unusual name as the letter x is not present in the Polish alphabet. These shops sold otherwise unobtainable western goods in exchange for Western currencies, such as German Deutschmarks, United States Dollars or bank cheques issued by the state-owned bank PEKAO. Polish zloties were not accepted. Pewex shops could be found in virtually every town in Poland were the only stores selling foreign goods during the communist period.
Despite this any Pole of a certain age will probably still have a soft spot for these PEWEX stores where everything from toilet rolls to colour televisions and imported Marlboro cigarettes could be purchased by anyone in possession of enough hard currency. In addition to imported goods, Pewex shops also sold high quality Polish products including vodka and Krakus brand goods such as tinned ham.
The Pewex chain of shops was privatised in the early 1990s and soon afterwards went bankrupt.