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Home   About   Membership   Forums & Meetings   Government Affairs   Members Only April 04, 2014


 




PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE

It is crunch time now for the FY 2015 DoD Budget. The Administration proposal has been forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget with a $200 Million reduction in the DeCA budget and language to allow variable pricing and private label introductions. The counterweight on the Republican side calls for no reductions in military family programs. The devil remains in the details and these key issues will be hammered out in conference deliberations. The key underlying message being communicated on all sides focus on the lack of any analysis on the part of DoD on the impacts and in particular collateral damage that will be done if the changes in the commissary appropriation and market strategy are implemented. This is coupled with an open expression of dismay that these proposals are out in front of the research and analysis entrusted to the Military Retirement and Compensation Commission.

It is difficult to understand how senior officials in DoD think you can take an agency that has been staffed and organized to deliver a benefit and by simply changing a couple sections in the law turn them into a competitive retailer. It doesn't work that way. If DoD cannot see this perhaps it is time someone from outside came in to crunch the proposal and the numbers before these programs are destroyed.


Military families worry about possible commissary closures
Read the Full Story
Government Executive, Kellie Lunney
Salary, health insurance and retirement benefits most often spring to mind when federal employees think of compensation. But for military personnel and their families, another perk is just as important: The heavily-subsidized commissaries on base where they buy food and other goods. The Pentagon is proposing a 71 percent reduction in subsidies to the stores in its fiscal 2015 budget, and according to a new survey, most middle-class career military families are worried such a drastic cut would really hurt.

Two-thirds of military families in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000 per year "identify commissaries as an important part of their current compensation as well as future retirement benefits," said the latest survey from the First Command Financial Behaviors Index released this week. Three out of four survey respondents said eliminating the taxpayer-subsidized benefit "would negatively impact their families," the report said.

"Commissaries are an important benefit for not only lower-income, junior members of the military, but also our higher-ranking men and women in uniform who earn solidly middle-class incomes," said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services Inc. "Our survey respondents estimate that they spend almost half of their monthly grocery shopping dollars at commissaries."


Commissary cuts could hurt MWR programs
Read the Full Story
Military Times, Karen Jowers
Proposed cuts in commissary funding not only would drive shoppers away because their grocery prices would rise, but also could have a "devastating" ripple effect on base morale, welfare and recreation programs, advocates said. Commissaries, exchanges and MWR programs are inextricably linked. So if higher commissary prices drive shoppers away, that could impact customer traffic at base exchanges — which are already seeing a decline in sales. And MWR programs are partly funded by exchange profits.

Most commissary discounts would be eliminated under proposed Defense Department cut
Read the Full Story
The Washington Post, Kathy Orton
The Defense Department has proposed reducing spending by cutting some retirement and other benefits for troops next year, including a $1.4 billion subsidy to commissaries that allows goods to be sold at heavily discounted prices. The Defense Commissary Agency estimates that a family of four saves about $4,509 annually shopping at a commissary rather than a local grocery store, because at the military version of a supermarket, goods are sold at cost plus 5 percent. A single service member saves about $1,553 a year.

Army mourns loss of soldiers at Fort Hood
Read the Full Story
Army News Service via U.S. Department of Defense, David Vergun
For the Fort Hood, Texas, community and the Army family worldwide, "this is a time once again to come together, to stand as one as they have so many times before, drawing strength from each other," Army Secretary John M. McHugh told lawmakers.

McHugh and Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno appeared before a Senate Armed Services Committee posture hearing that was supposed to focus on readiness, manpower, modernization and the budget. But after the hearing opened, the focus quickly shifted to the recent tragedy at Fort Hood, in which a soldier allegedly killed three other soldiers and then killed himself.

"We lost people who are part of our Army family," Odierno told the senators, "and we take that incredibly seriously."



Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association






WASHINGTON UPDATE


Lawmakers at odds over Navy's proposed ban on tobacco sales
The Washington Post
Lawmakers are taking sides in a debate over whether the U.S. Navy should ban tobacco sales on its ships and bases, with one House Republican last week opposing the plan while several Senate Democrats supported it. The Navy is considering the restriction as part of a renewed emphasis on the health of sailors and Marines, according to officials. But some members of Congress see the effort as a waste of energy for the department.
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Hagel supports review of on-base tobacco sales
Military Times
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday that he supports a forcewide review of tobacco use and sales on military installations. "I think we owe it to our people," Hagel said at a Pentagon news conference. The military's health care costs attributable to tobacco use are "astounding, well over a billion dollars" a year. "Dollars are one thing, but the health of your people, I don't know if you put a price on that. So I do think it needs to be looked at and reviewed," said Hagel.
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Senate panel signals possible future relief from full sequester cuts
Seapower Magazine
After provided a break from deep sequester cuts in fiscal 2014 and 2015, lawmakers seemed poised to continue easing up in future years as well. The Senate Armed Services seapower subcommittee received testimony April 2 from two senior Marine Corps leaders on their future modernization plans and members from both sides of the aisle repeatedly spoke about the dangers of continuing the full sequestration cuts through fiscal 2023.
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Help for Military Families Comes in the Mail
Military Media Inc.    Share   

Military families face tough financial challenges. Budget cuts will make it even harder for DeCA to deliver the commissary benefit.

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With 'Ryan Budget,' GOP wants to show it's strong on defense
Defense News
House Budget Committee Chairman and possible presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan unveiled a GOP spending plan Tuesday that would inflate President Barack Obama's proposed Pentagon spending level by over $30 billion. The much-anticipated 2015 "Ryan budget" almost certainly will be approved by the Republican-controlled House. But the Wisconsin Republican's spending plan isn't going anywhere beyond the lower chamber — Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., says she will not craft a 2015 budget resolution.
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Gabbard appointed to House Armed Services Committee
Honolulu Civil Beat
The House Democratic Caucus has appointed U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard to the House Armed Services Committee. According to a press release from Gabbard's office, she will fill an open seat on the committee and the full House will vote to finalize the appointment. "As a twice-deployed combat veteran, and Captain in the Hawaii Army National Guard, I take very seriously the responsibility to serve on the House Armed Services Committee," said Gabbard in a statement.
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Defense officials say Asia pivot still on
The Hill
The Obama administration is fully committed to the rebalance to Asia despite questions over whether it can be implemented given cuts to the Pentagon's budget, senior defense officials recently said. "The rebalance is at the front and center of our national security strategy," a senior defense official told reporters at a background Pentagon briefing previewing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's fourth trip to the region as Pentagon chief.
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TRENDING ARTICLES
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.

    Changes at AAFES aimed at improved shopping experience (U.S. Army)
DoD official: 'Tough choices' necessary on pay and benefits reform (Military Times)
DoD: Some US commissaries may close due to cuts (Military.com)
House lawmakers cool to DoD pay, benefits proposals (Military Times)

Don't be left behind. Click here to see what else you missed.


COMMISSARY ANNOUNCEMENTS

Commissary Web Posts

The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website between 10 AM, March 27, 2014 and 10 AM April 3, 2014:

PROMOTIONS:
DP #9, Update #1.
DP #10, Update #1 and Alaska Quantities.
Summer Club Pack (July – September 2014) WW Promotion Package.

NOTICES TO TRADE (NTT)
14-32, New Store Set Dates – Gunter.
14-33, New Store Set Dates – Pittsburg.
14-36, New Store Set Dates – Annapolis.
14-35, Shelf Life Requirements to DeCA Stores.
14-37, 2014 Store Reset Schedule, Revision #2 and an EXCEL copy of the updated schedule.

MISCELLANEOUS:
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 14-14.
DeCA February Sales Data.
CRV Values, March 30, 2014.

Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization
Commission Upcoming Hearings:


The commission has again scheduled hearings. Please help spread the word and attend as many of these public hearings as possible. Here is the schedule:
  • Fort Benning and Ft Gordon, Atlanta, GA has been cancelled.
  • MacDill AFB, FL, 21-22 May 2014
MARK YOUR CALENDAR

DeCA/ALA Appreciation Day Golf, April 30, 2014, Ft Lee, VA.
ALA Commissary Roundtable, May 1 & 2, 2014, Richmond Marriott, Richmond VA. Registration is open.
ALA Congressional Caucus, June 24, 2014, Washington, DC
ALA Hawaii Conference & Food Show, August 2014, Honolulu
ALA National Convention, October 24, 2014, Hyatt Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

Why You Need To Register For the May 1 & 2, 2014 ALA Commissary Roundtable

If you haven't yet registered for the May Commissary Roundtable you need to do so. The steering committee has designed a must attend preliminary agenda for those who sell to the commissary system. This roundtable is all about SALES and TRAINING. The industry and our customer are changing quickly and we will kick the session off with Matthew Kelly, a Nationally acclaimed speaker, author and business consultant whose focus is learning to adapt to change and manage transition. His discussion is timely given the real life challenges that Industry and DeCA may face. He will arm us with the tools to push forward and grow SALES.

Of course, the DeCA Director will discuss DeCA's mission and what the future may hold and the Executive Director, Sales, Marketing & Policy along with the Director of Sales will share their vision and insight on increasing SALES today and tomorrow.

Concurrent breakout sessions on the Beverage Category, the Dry Grocery Category, the Store Perimeter and the Non-Food Category will be held. You can expect each of the respective Category Managers to outline their vision for the category and how they expect to grow the business. Since the four sessions will run concurrently, it is a must for each sales person who deals with DeCA and the company business manager to attend their appropriate breakout session. Additionally, in each of these sessions the Category Managers want to hear from us about our store level execution, product availability, etc. This will be the place to get the information you need to increase your SALES.

The Executive Director Store Operations personnel will hold another great session on Operational Execution and Excellence where they will be talking about where the SALES are accomplished – the store itself. We can expect to hear about promotional execution to improve SALES, keeping the shelves full, store level SALES, etc. Again, all about SALES and improving the business.

A guest speaker from the Category Management Association will fill us in on the training and direction of the Category Managers and he will attend the breakout sessions as a resource. Brian Gildenberg, Kantar Retail, Chief Knowledge Officer, will give us insights on shopper needs and category trends as well as ideas on how we succeed in this new environment and grow SALES.

During the general session, we will have an Industry Panel of Experts from top CPG companies which will use their category, retailer and Industry expertise in a discussion designed to facilitate brand, category and retail SALES growth at DeCA.

The DeCA Infrastructure Directorate will give us insight on supply chain modernization and we will again hear from the DeCA Chief Operating Officer.

We are working on obtaining some key Congressional leaders to provide us with their Congressional view. And of course, ALA Legislative Affairs will give us the "down and dirty" status of the legislation and how it might affect all of us.

The One-On-One sessions with DeCA Category Managers will be held, so industry members can meet the new DeCA Sales team.

This will be a jam-packed event all centered on training and improving SALES. If you haven't registered you need to do so soonest.

Hope to see you there!





COMMISSARY NEWS


Airmen, retirees troubled by commissary cuts
Hilltop Times
It's a good-news, bad-news scenario: Although it appears military commissaries aren't going anywhere, the money used to run them is being slashed and customers will have to make up some of the difference. Late last year, news reports circulated indicating the Department of Defense was planning to close commissaries across the country. Since then, the DoD has said there are no plans to close any commissaries but that the fiscal year 2015 budget request includes major cuts to the commissary subsidy.
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Most commissary discounts would be eliminated under proposed Defense Department cut
The Washington Post
The Defense Department has proposed reducing spending by cutting some retirement and other benefits for troops next year, including a $1.4 billion subsidy to commissaries that allows goods to be sold at heavily discounted prices. The Defense Commissary Agency estimates that a family of four saves about $4,509 annually shopping at a commissary rather than a local grocery store, because at the military version of a supermarket, goods are sold at cost plus 5 percent. A single service member saves about $1,553 a year.
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Commissary cuts could hurt MWR programs
Military Times
Proposed cuts in commissary funding not only would drive shoppers away because their grocery prices would rise, but also could have a "devastating" ripple effect on base morale, welfare and recreation programs, advocates said. Commissaries, exchanges and MWR programs are inextricably linked, advocates said. So if higher commissary prices drive shoppers away, that could impact customer traffic at base exchanges — which are already seeing a decline in sales. And MWR programs are partly funded by exchange profits.
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$138,607 federal contract awarded to Four Points Technology
TMCnet
Four Points Technology LLC, Chantilly, Va., won a $138,606.64 federal contract from the Defense Commissary Agency's Information Technology Contracting Branch, Fort Lee, Va., for an upgrade to DeCA's existing BMC Remedy Software Licensing application and their maintenance support.
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Hagel supports review of on-base tobacco sales
Military Times
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that he supports a forcewide review of tobacco use and sales on military installations. "I think we owe it to our people," Hagel said at a Pentagon news conference. The military's health care costs attributable to tobacco use are "astounding, well over a billion dollars" a year, Hagel said. "Dollars are one thing, but the health of your people, I don't know if you put a price on that. So I do think it needs to be looked at and reviewed," said Hagel.
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Military families worry about possible commissary closures
Government Executive
Salary, health insurance and retirement benefits most often spring to mind when federal employees think of compensation. But for military personnel and their families, another perk is just as important: The heavily-subsidized commissaries on base where they buy food and other goods. The Pentagon is proposing a 71 percent reduction in subsidies to the stores in its fiscal 2015 budget, and according to a new survey, most middle-class career military families are worried such a drastic cut would really hurt.
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General Mills commits to sustainable palm oil
Environmental Leader
General Mills said it will source 100 percent of its palm oil from responsible and sustainable sources by 2015, a commitment it first made in 2010. The announcement closely follows the scoring of consumer brands for sustainable palm oil made by the Union of Concerned Scientists. In that scoring, UCS said that the company had fallen short. UCS now says the policy is an improvement, but General Mills is still "out of touch with the industry definition of High Carbon Stock forests."
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Dallas is the latest to ban bags — is your city next?
By Danielle Wegert
We all want to do our part to help save the environment, and cities have been getting involved in recent years by banning disposable bags. The most recent bag ban happened in Dallas where residents will be required to pay 5 cents per bag starting Jan. 1, 2015. But how is this going to affect retailers and consumers? And is it legal for cities nationwide to ban bags? Since Dallas is not the first city to impose a bag ban like this, there is information available as to how it affects retailers and how it actually affects the environment.
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Food shortages will create business haves, have-nots
FoodDIVE
It's been a tough start of the year for some in the food industry, particularly when looking at various external factors disrupting the supply chain. Global shortages of key ingredients have translated into higher prices for chocolate and coffee, while important growing regions like Mexico and Brazil have been hit by unfavorable weather. Local food suppliers have also been affected, with drought ravaging many crops in California and diminishing the cattle supply. To add to these hardships, America's meat supply is sure to be reduced as a result of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus. So what do these unfortunate events mean for the food industry, specifically for food prices?
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The re-urbanization of America
Grocery Headquarters
Americans once flocked to the suburbs in search of a better, easier life. Now, it seems as if the reverse is true as more and more people are living in cities across the country — and for a longer time period. This urban growth brings new opportunities for grocery retailers that can be flexible and adapt their thinking and formats to new patterns of demand and land use.
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New research probes natural, organic meat consumers
Progressive Grocer
Midan Marketing's latest consumer research study, "Today's Natural vs. Organic Fresh Meat Consumer," takes an in-depth look at consumer perceptions and purchase drivers of natural and organic fresh meat products. Billed as the first study of its kind to look at the differences between fresh meat consumers as distinct groups, including segment data by protein category, Midan Marketing surveyed 500 meat consumers in November 2013 to better understand the attitudes and behaviors of current natural and organic fresh meat purchasers, as well as the barriers to purchase among those consumers who do not buy natural or organic fresh meat.
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FEATURED ARTICLE
TRENDING ARTICLE
MOST POPULAR ARTICLE
Latest beverage stats positive for all but CSDs
CSPnet
In recent months, beverage makers have promised new flavors, new packaging and new marketing to give the carbonated-soft-drink category a boost. And it's much needed as category sales continue to sag across all channels. Total CSD dollar sales declined 2.1 percent, according to a recent report.

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Senator: Find $2 billion to undo troop benefit cuts
Military.com
A leading Republican senator in Congress is asking his colleagues to find $2 billion in the federal budget to offset proposed reductions to troop pay and benefits. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., made the proposal during a recent hearing of the panel's Military Personnel Subcommittee.

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Navy mulls banning tobacco sales on bases, ships
USA Today
The Navy is on the verge of eliminating tobacco sales on all its bases and ships, according to sources of the Defense Department. Officials are reportedly considering removing tobacco from all sales venues, to include any exchange-operated retail outlets, as well as base-operated retail outlets where cigarettes may be sold.

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COALITION NEWS



Coalition and Valued Associates Advocacy and Actions...

The Coalition welcomed a new Valued Associate member this week. The National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS) is a powerful voice for uniformed service members and their families. Their Legislative Director, Rick Jones, is also the Co-Chair for the National Military Veterans Alliance (NMVA), which represents more than 3.5 million members. Collectively, these organizations, to include ALA and AFMC, represent some 80 million Americans – those who serve or have served their country and their families.

Rick Jones will be testifying on behalf of the NMVA before the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee on Wednesday, April 9th at 2 pm. EST. NMVA's written testimony strongly supports commissary and exchange benefits, and opposes any reductions that would end the appropriation for the commissary and exchange system or mandates consolidation. The testimony will be available online after the hearing next week, which can be accessed through http://armedservices.house.gov/index.cfm/hearings-display.


Commissary Cuts, Closures, Merger Cause Growing Concern
Within Military Community

Washington, D.C. (April 1, 2014) – For months the Department of Defense has reiterated that they have no plans to close commissaries. For months military advocacy groups have warned that the Pentagon's proposal to slash commissary funding would do just that.

Last week, before the Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, a Defense official confirmed that some stateside commissaries might in fact have to close as higher prices and less savings force military patrons to shop elsewhere. This would also have a devastating effect on military exchanges, which rely on commissary traffic. According to the Exchange, patronage would drop 20 to 30 percent, putting in jeopardy critical Morale Welfare and Recreation (MWR) dollars.

The Pentagon is now considering a proposal to merge the commissary and Exchange, adding to the growing concern within the military community.

"Commissaries are an important part of the quality of life for those in the uniformed services and their families," stated Rick Jones, Legislative Director for the National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS).

"NAUS opposes the Pentagon plan to cut the Commissary subsidy," said Jones. "It would hurt troops and their families in the pocket-book with a sharp reduction in buying power. The cut would once again have a disproportionate impact on elderly retired military members who are on fixed incomes."

"Our junior enlisted families would be forced to make tough choices as well without the critical savings commissaries provide," said Candace Wheeler, spokesperson for The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits. "With less purchasing power each month, military families will be forced to make tradeoffs in their household budgets – deciding between getting the car fixed, paying off credit card debt, saving for college, putting money away for retirement, or postponing a much needed family vacation."

"NAUS is pleased to join with 'Save Our Benefit' and those who understand the importance of the commissary system," added Jones.

Commissaries are part of the solution to our Nation's budget challenges, not part of the problem – providing a great return to the Department of Defense on every dollar that is spent to provide this earned benefit.

Commissaries also support many key White House initiatives – hiring veterans and military spouses, employment for Wounded Warriors and people with disabilities, supporting diversity programs and small business, and promoting healthy lifestyles.

President Obama recognizes how important commissaries are to military life and believes closure of these stores: "is not how a great nation should be treating its military and military families."

"Save Our Benefit couldn't agree more," said Wheeler. "We will continue to fight for our military families and veterans' earned benefits and welcome the support and powerful voice of the National Association for Uniformed Services."

NAUS was founded in 1968 to protect and enhance the earned benefits of uniformed service members, retirees, veterans, and their families and survivors, while maintaining a strong defense, through nonpartisan advocacy on Capitol Hill and with other government officials. NAUS is proud to be The Service Member's Voice in Government.

Save Our Benefit is working to ensure service members, veterans, military families, people with disabilities, employees, and concerned citizens have a voice in shaping polices that impact our nation's ability to keep a healthy and vibrant military resale system, and to protect these critical earned benefits. Individuals and organizations are encouraged to add your voice today!



CHAPTER ANNOUNCEMENTS


ALA NY's annual West Point Golf Outing is this June!
The ALA NY Chapter is having its annual West Point Golf Outing on Monday, June 23, 2014. Proceeds from the event benefit the Military Commanders' Scholarship Fund.

We do not currently have an online registration process - any inquiries can be directed to me at this email address: jmugnai@familymedia.com.

Thanks,

Joe Mugnai
FamilyMedia
516-746-2000
jmugnai@familymedia.com

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EXCHANGE MARKET NEWS


Proposed AAFES and DeCA merger
Military.com
According to a recent Military Update, the plan to cope with DoD budget cuts includes slashing taxpayer support of commissaries, from $1.4 billion a year down to $400 million by fiscal 2017. In an effort to save commissaries and protect exchanges, the chief executive officer of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, has proposed to merge commissary operations with exchanges and use resulting efficiencies to stabilize grocery prices and keep patrons.
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Navy to halt on-base tobacco sales
Military.com
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus may soon announce that Navy and Marine Corps base exchanges, including ship stores, will end tobacco sales by September. Proponents say it would end the hypocrisy of selling tobacco conveniently and at deep discounts while encouraging service members and families to stay healthy and fit. However, many are concerned that the end of tobacco sales could impact the exchange system as they have relied heavily on sale of tobacco products for profits. Most commissaries also sell cigarettes but on consignment from the exchanges.
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Navy move to ban tobacco sales would include Marine Corps
Military Times
The Navy is pushing ahead toward eliminating tobacco sales on all its bases and ships, as well as all Marine Corps facilities, according to sources inside and outside the Pentagon. Officials are reportedly considering removing tobacco from all sales venues, to include any exchange-operated retail outlets, as well as MWR-operated retail outlets where cigarettes may be sold. Six commissaries on Navy bases currently sell tobacco products.
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Toys 'R' Us to update US store base; creating store of the future
Chain Store Age
Toys "R" Us has launched a new strategy to drive future growth that includes a big emphasis on improving its in-store customer experience. The nation's largest toy retailer said it will update its existing stores to make them easier to shop, focusing on everything from the restrooms and lighting to the flooring and signage.
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Wal-Mart tests new c-store format, Walmart To Go
Chain Store Age
Wal-Mart Stores is testing a new convenience-store concept called "Walmart To Go," with the initial location in the chain's hometown of Bentonville, Ark. The new store offers convenience store products, prepared foods and gasoline.
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Texas A&M partners with GameStop and IBM to found institute
Chain Store Age
The Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School has united with GameStop and IBM to found the GameStop Technology Institute, a consortium of technology corporations and academic institutions focused on discovering and delivering business innovation and technology solutions to better address the needs of today's empowered consumer.
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Consumer spending helps drive GDP growth
Chain Store Age
Consumer spending growth of 3.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2013 helped drive a 2.6 percent increase in the U.S. gross domestic product. According to the third and final estimate from the Commerce Department, the price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, increased 1.5 percent in the fourth quarter.
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Wal-Mart unveils futuristic truck prototype
Chain Store Age
Wal-Mart showcased its futuristic truck at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. The Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience is a tractor-trailer combination that features leading edge aerodynamics, an advanced turbine-powered range extending series hybrid powertrain, electrified auxiliary components, and sophisticated control systems, developed in support of the company's sustainability program.
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Brookstone preparing to file for bankruptcy
The Wall Street Journal
Brookstone Inc., which sells consumer gadgets ranging from travel electronics to massage chairs, is preparing to file for bankruptcy protection, with a plan in place to be bought by another specialty retailer, people familiar with the matter said. Egg Harbor Township, N.J.-based Spencer Spirit Holdings Inc., which owns Spencer's and costume retailer Spirit, has been in discussions with Brookstone for weeks, the people said, as Brookstone battles disappointing sales, weak liquidity and a hefty debt load.
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Target, Visa say fraud limited in wake of data breach
The Wall Street Journal
Target Corp. said it has seen relatively little fraudulent activity on its cards following a massive data breach over the holidays, comments that came as the retailer faced criticism from lawmakers for data-protection shortcomings that may have facilitated one of the largest payment-card thefts in history. Target Chief Financial Officer John Mulligan, speaking at a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing, said there has been $2 million in fraud on the Visa credit cards it issues and none on Target's store-issued debit cards.
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Lessons to be learned from retailers overseas
Supermarket News
U.S. retailers should look to the growth strategies of their European counterparts to achieve the same success, said speakers at the "Going Global — What Shoppers Wants; Retailers Need; What Brands Must Deliver" session at the Shopper Marketing Summit. "It won't be so easy to grow business simply by opening more stores," said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL/Strategic Retail. "We need to look beyond our borders and traditional ways of doing business."
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Report: Bribe probe cost Wal-Mart $439 million
Chain Store Age
Wal-Mart Stores spent $439 million during the past two years to investigate the possible payment of foreign bribes, Bloomberg reported, making it ranks as one of the most expensive probes in U.S. history. Wal-Mart spent $282 million in the fiscal year ended Jan. 31 and $157 million the previous year, and expenses will continue to rise, according to an annual report filed March 21.
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J. Crew sets 2014 store openings
Women's Wear Daily
The company plans for robust store growth this year, despite the declines in mall traffic besetting the industry. (Subscription required.)
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RadioShack's online presence not clicking with customers
The Dallas Morning News
RadioShack rarely talks about its online business. While e-commerce has exploded in the past decade, the Fort Worth-based consumer electronics chain's online sales have declined more than 20 percent. A weak online business is just one of the problems the current management team inherited from years of missteps.
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Retailers are using data-based approaches to fight showrooming
Adweek
Technology has given consumers the ability to be multichannel shoppers, giving rise to the showrooming phenomenon whereby people check out the merchandise in the stores, then go online and buy it elsewhere for less. But retailers are fighting back, with data-driven tactics and other methods of getting shoppers to spend money with them.
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'Understanding Evolving Cyber Security Threats'
National Retail Federation
This year's opening keynote session at the NRF Loss Prevention Conference & Expo will feature Michael Chertoff, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary and current Chairman of The Chertoff Group. Hear Michael's insights on how companies can better assess, identify and monitor threats — both real and potential; how cyber risks develop — and how to mitigate them; and how leaders can guide their companies to become more resilient against assured future attacks and shift corporate culture accordingly.
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Wawa to roll out Kalibrate Technologies' fuel pricing solution
Chain Store Age
Kalibrate Technologies (formerly KSS Fuels) announced that convenience-store operator Wawa has purchased the Kalibrate PriceNet fuel pricing system and will implement a roll-out across the chain's entire network of 382 fuel sites. Wawa will utilize the full capabilities of PriceNet, which includes 24/7 automation of pricing, full integration to the sites, robust analytics to determine optimal pump prices and mobile functionality on smartphones and tablets.
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Is 'made in the USA' really the most sustainable way to manufacture?
The Guardian
The move to re-shore U.S. manufacturing faces significant hurdles. In January, the Institute for Supply Management, a nonprofit tracking the health of the U.S. manufacturing sector, reported that its primary measure, the Purchasing Managers Index, had fallen from the previous month. Yet the 254,941 U.S. manufacturers (according to the last census) show promising signs of growth.
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Consumers just say no to in-store tracking
Adweek
Given the choice, consumers are likely to just say "no" to their movements being tracked in retail stores via their smartphones. According to a new survey by Chicago-based OpinionLab, eight out of 10 consumers don't want to be tracked without giving their explicit consent. A large majority, 64 percent, said they should only be tracked if they opt-in or sign up to participate in a program, a response that is directly contrary to the opt-out platform adopted by 11 mobile location analytics firms.
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J.C. Penney doesn't expect impact from Macy's suit
Chain Store Age
In a March 21 regulatory filing, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. said it does not expect the result of a lawsuit filed by Macy's Inc. alleging that Penney was selling Martha Stewart Living products in violation of an exclusivity agreement to have a significant negative impact on its results. "While no assurance can be given as to the ultimate outcome of this matter, we currently believe that the final resolution of this action will not have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position, liquidity or capital resources," Penney said in the filing.
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Report: Wal-Mart offers online price comparison tool
Chain Store Age
Wal-Mart has introduced an online feature, called "Savings Catcher," that allows shoppers to compare prices on the chain's food and household products against those of its competitors, according to the Associated Press. General merchandise categories and electronics are not included, and neither are purchases of store brands or those made online.
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10 best convenience store chains in America
CSPnet
Some of the country's favorite and most profitable convenience store chains offer both great service and competitive prices, according to a feature and slideshow presented by The Daily Meal. Seven of the 10 stores on the "all things food and drink" website's unscientific list of the 10 Best Convenience Store Chains in America also made Forbes magazine's list of America's largest private companies.
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How bricks-and-mortar stores are looking more and more like physical websites
Financial Post
Online giants such as Amazon and eBay have been gleaning information about their customers' merchandise browsing and buying habits for years — and now bricks and mortar retailers are taking a page from their playbook. From in-store cameras that track how long customers pause at store displays to opt-in apps that recognize shoppers' identities and send an instant coupon to their phones, retailers are keen to discover new avenues of advantage over convenient rival websites, even as they seek to capitalize on their own Web channels and integrate them with bricks and mortar stores.
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Sears unveils new fast-fashion line
MarketWatch
Sears Holdings Corp. unveiled a new fast-fashion shop within its stores and website called Now + Here, providing monthly deliveries of trendy items. Edward Lampert, the billionaire hedge fund investor who controls Sears, has sought to turn around the company by spinning off some businesses and pursuing a member-centric model, using its Shop Your Way program.
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On the importance of customers and employees
By Mel Kleiman
Is it as important to value your employees as highly as you value your relationships with your customers? You bet it is! There is a direct correlation between employee job satisfaction and length-of-service with profitability. This means treating employees with respect and delivering what they want from their jobs is a crucial to long-term success. It may seem obvious that what every employee wants is money — every employer passes out paychecks. Just because you do as well, it won't inspire the kind of outstanding customer service and teamwork that keeps customers coming back and attracts new ones.
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Looking for similar articles? Search here, keyword(s): Inspiring teamwork.


Credit card security risks businesses need to know about
BusinessNewsDaily
As a business owner, you know that accepting credit card payments is pretty much a necessity. It's probably a routine daily activity you don't think much about. However, overlooking some simple security risks could be a costly mistake leading to stolen customer information, lost revenue, fines, and even having your credit card acceptance privileges revoked. When it comes to processing credit card transactions, businesses must follow The Payment Card Industry Security Standards. These rules ensure all companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment to protect customer credit information.
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Not all convenience stores are buying into consumer-facing technology
Convenience Store News
Convenience store retailers placed an emphasis on technology in 2013 and say they will continue to do so this year, but plenty of opportunities exist for c-stores when it comes to consumer-facing technologies, according to a recent study. Take mobile apps, for example. Just 29 percent of c-store retailers surveyed have chosen this method of reaching consumers directly, with almost 71 percent reporting they have not yet done so. Loyalty programs are another place where opportunity knocks. Nearly 56 percent of those surveyed offer a loyalty program, but more than 44 percent still do not.
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Retailers of the future: Innovative retailers take on the Amazon juggernaut
Retail Customer Experience
Amazon dominates the world of online retail, and as much as other retailers would love to hate them, their response is more often "begrudging admiration." Most retailers can certainly appreciate Amazon's ability to put the customer first with features such as the Prime loyalty program and seamless one-click ordering. However, going up against Amazon's Goliath can be challenging for the more David-sized specialty retailers. But as successful as Amazon is, it cannot be all things to all shoppers (as hard as it may try.) There is still room for innovative retailers to take a stand, but they must compete for mindshare in a noisy marketplace.
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EXCHANGE ANNOUNCEMENTS


Dear Associates,
The Board of Directors has approved five new senior executive positions. When I first arrived 22 months ago, I found the chief executive officer had 16 direct reports. In addition, other key strategic levers, such as FA and HR did not report to the chief executive officer.

In the ensuing months, to improve the execution of our strategic objectives, I have consolidated those functions under six direct reports: MD, FA, PL, IT, HR, and COO. We have eliminated six Vice President positions that yield over $1.2 million in net annual savings, inclusive of modest salary increases for the newly created five EVP positions. These positions will have a much larger portfolio of responsibilities and enable more rigorous cross-functional coordination and problem solving within the Company. This structure also provides for more opportunities for additional professional growth.

The Board's approval does not increase the number of NF-6 positions, rather it elevates four positions (MD, FA, PL, and IT) to the executive vice president level along with the chief operating officer. Their duty titles:

Executive Vice President - Chief Operating Officer
Executive Vice President - Chief Financial Officer
Executive Vice President - Chief Merchandising Officer
Executive Vice President – Chief Strategy Officer
Executive Vice President – Chief Information Officer

This change was effective 29 March.

Congratulations to these five key executives.

Best wishes,

Tom Shull
Director/CEO

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Dear Vendors/Brokers,
New items are the key drivers for category growth and increasing sales. In a collaborative effort to excite and effectively market new items to our customers we have developed a new item multi-channel marketing package. The menu of marketing options are valuable opportunities to communicate the impactful new items to customers. Impact new item launches in which we use speed to market strategy and planogram resets are where we need to implement multi-channel marketing. Each impact new item launch and planogram reset we are requesting your support on this new initiative.

Please work directly with your buyers to schedule multi-channel marketing on the next new items. We are confident this additional marketing and customer experiences through samplings in store will produce incremental sales growth.

Thank you for your continuing support,

David H. Arens
Divisional Merchandise Manager Retail Food
Sales Directorate
214-312-3215
arensd@aafes.com

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Scholarships for Military Children
The deadline for applications to the 2014 program was Feb. 28. We received a total of 5,000 applications, from which Scholarship Managers will select a total of 600 recipients, each to receive a $2,000 scholarship grant. If any ALA member companies would like to be included as a donor to the 2014 program, they need to notify Jim Weiskopf at Fisher House Foundation as soon as possible, as pairings of recipients to sponsors will be completed within the next two weeks.

James D. Weiskopf
Vice President, Fisher House Foundation
Email: JWeiskopf@fisherhouse.org
Home: 13125 Willow Edge Court, Clifton, Virginia 20124-1080
Office: 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, Maryland 20850
Phone: (Home) 703-378-5670. (Mobile) 202-607-1067

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ALA Exchange Roundtable 2014 Presentations

AAFES Sales February 2014

MCX Sales January 2014

NEXCOM Sales February 2014

Homeward Bound Slides

www.shopmyexchange.com/homewardbound

ALA Executive Briefing (archive link)

http://www.shopmyexchange.com/DoingBusiness/prospective.htm

AAFES Press release Archive 2010-2014

AAFES sales flyers (to view click below)
Special Sales Flyers
See what else is going on at your Exchange! Additional promotions and limited time savings events can be found in this section.
(Click image above for special advertisements!)

Exchange Savings Tabloid Portal

EUROPE SALES FLYER (AAFES)

PACRIM SALES FLYER (AAFES)

Food Court Info

Savings Portal: See all the savings posted here by week from AAFES and DeCA

http://www.saveourbenefit.org/

Receive money saving offers via text

Join your local Exchange Buddy List

Join our Online Savings Club

Military Life Resource Directory page

Exchange Online Store

Exchange Online Store — Savings Center

Exchange Online Mall

Join the Exchange Online SAVINGS Club (receive exclusive COUPONS)!



Find a store


View our latest market surveys

Product recalls and alerts (Exchange)

Save the dates:

DeCA/ALA Appreciation Day Golf, April 30, 2014, Ft Lee, VA.

ALA Commissary Roundtable, May 1 & 2, 2014, Richmond Marriott, Richmond VA. Registration is open.

ALA Congressional Caucus, June 24, 2014, Washington, DC

ALA Hawaii Conference & Food Show, August 2014, Honolulu

ALA National Convention, October 24, 2014, Hyatt Capitol Hill, Washington, DC




Go to: www.ALA-National.org, sign in and CHECK OUT the information.




MWR NEWS


Commissary cuts could hurt MWR programs
Navy Times via WVEC-TV
Proposed cuts in commissary funding not only would drive shoppers away because their grocery prices would rise, but also could have a "devastating" ripple effect on base morale, welfare and recreation programs, advocates said. Commissaries, exchanges and MWR programs are inextricably linked, advocates said. So if higher commissary prices drive shoppers away, that could impact customer traffic at base exchanges — which are already seeing a decline in sales. And MWR programs are partly funded by exchange profits.
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Navy weighs ban on sale of tobacco
The Virginian-Pilot
Navy officials are reportedly considering halting the sale of tobacco from places such as exchange-operated retail outlets and Morale, Welfare and Recreation-operated retailers, according to the Navy Times and NBC News. In 2012, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus visited Norfolk Naval Station to announce efforts that included moving closer to a smoke-free force. The use of tobacco is now discouraged, and tobacco products sold on bases are no longer subsidized.
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Navy mulls banning tobacco sales on all bases, ships
Marine Corps Times
The Navy is on the verge of eliminating tobacco sales on all its bases and ships, according to sources inside and outside the Defense Department. Officials are reportedly considering removing tobacco from all sales venues, to include any exchange-operated retail outlets, as well as MWR-operated retail outlets where cigarettes may be sold. Commissaries on Navy bases currently do not sell tobacco products.
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Changes at AAFES aimed at improved shopping experience
4-Traders
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service wants its customers to have an enjoyable shopping experience comparable to any of the large civilian retailers, said Thomas C. Shull, AAFES chief executive officer. Subtle but important changes are taking place within the stores that might not be noticed by customers, he said, explaining that shoppers are desiring more "aspirational brands," such as Michael Kors. The Exchange is bringing these brands to shoppers at competitive prices, both in-store and online, he said.
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Exchange-Commissary Merger eyed to stem store crisis
Progress-Index
Crowds that shop daily in base commissaries and exchanges perhaps are oblivious to a confluence of forces threatening to dismantle their multi-billion dollar resale systems. Thomas C. Shull, chief executive officer of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service is not, which helps to explain his March 17 memo proposing a merger of commissaries with exchanges to try to save both.
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