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Home   About   Membership   Meetings   Government Affairs   Members Only May 27, 2011
 
Executive Briefing
 
 

President's
Message


Dear ALA members:

There has been considerable emphasis placed on military families as of late, especially the efforts by the first lady, Michelle Obama, and Dr. Jill Biden to raise the awareness of military family sacrifice and galvanize efforts of the American people to assist military families. This effort has attracted several companies including Wal-mart's Military Family Promise program and Sears' announcement with the Department of Labor to advance career opportunities with Sears.

ALA has been working to raise the profile of the military resale system and all of the programs that are and have been underway for decades to assist military families. ALA is actively working to ensure the first lady's program includes recognition of the role that resale agencies play in supporting military families.

The Exchange Roundtable in Dallas highlighted our efforts to assist military families. Helping military families is nothing new to Exchanges: Exchanges help families each and every day as they have done for the past 115 years. Exchanges and commissaries are the largest employers of military families and these programs save military families billions of dollars each year that allow military households make ends meet. Additionally, exchanges and commissaries participate heavily in cause marketing and ALA member companies contribute millions each year to such worthy causes as the USO, Fisher House and a multitude of worthy military family support programs. We will be working closely with you to gain information on the extent of the programs that Exchanges have to support families.

We are planning on making extensive use of the internet to drive home all of the benefits of military exchanges. We hope to be working closely with the exchanges in their Web efforts and believe that we can drive home the message with the assistance of celebrity-driven Web initiatives such as the Military Shopping Channel. With patron savings 20 percent off their purchases by using exchanges, it is in the military family's best interest to be aware of the exchanges. Also the American people and the leadership in Washington need to be reminded of the valuable contributions that exchanges make each and every day.

We will be reaching out to our members to participate in this effort and will be making it a major part of the ALA's Exchange Council forums and commissary council initiatives. Further, as we develop our communications and Web patron awareness initiative, we hope that we can form a collaborative working group to discuss how we can join forces to make sure that our military patrons and the American public are aware of the great contributions that the tens of thousands of Exchange associates and commissary employees make each and every day toward their wellbeing.

Patrick B. Nixon
President


Government withholding relief coalition:
The House Committee on Small Business' Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce will hold a hearing on Thursday, May 26, on the 3 percent withholding tax. ALA has submitted a statement for the record outlining the problems this initiative would cause the military resale system.

RapidGate update:
NCACS, as it is known by the Navy is on track to be fully implemented across the CNIC enterprise in CONUS, Hawaii and Guam by Oct. 31. Navy Regions SE, SW and NW are fully implemented. Navy Regions NW and NDW are coming online over the next 45 to 60 days. Region MA and Hawaii will stand up over the next 45 to 90 days with Guam to follow later this summer. In addition, the program is implemented at 15 Army, 2 USMC, 2 USCG and 2 NASA installations.

A first for FLOTUS::

A first lady first: Speech to West Point grads
Read the Full Story
USA Today, Mimi Hall
First lady Michelle Obama, who has visited with troops' spouses and children at bases across the USA, took her message of support for military families straight to the young men and women who will be leading future troops in battle.


If you do not think everything is on the table, read this:

Gates pitches military pay cuts
Read the Full Story
The Wall Street Journal, Julian E. Barnes and Nathan Hodge
The coming round of Pentagon budget cuts will force lawmakers to consider reducing military pay and benefits, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said recently, raising an issue that could prove politically sensitive in a time of war.


Defense department:

Budget cuts force Pentagon to redefine priorities: What can't we afford to cut?
Read the Full Story
The Christian Science Monitor, Anna Mulrine
Long immune from cost-cutting measures as it fights two tough wars, the U.S. military has now come under increasing pressure to rein in its budget. Recently, Defense Secretary Robert Gates offered some insights into how, precisely, the Pentagon will begin doing this.



Patrick B. Nixon
President, ALA


Washington Update


Former US BRAC chief says Maryland will face future jobs competition
The Baltimore Sun    Share    Share on
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Maryland was a winner in the last round of military base reorganizations, but the state should keep an eye on the competition in preparing for the future, according to the official who headed the realignment. "Don't assume you are untouchable or immune to closures in the future — you're not," said Anthony J. Principi, who was chairman of the 2005 federal Base Closure and Realignment Commission. "You need to assess your community's strengths and weaknesses today." More

US military forges ahead with European force cuts
The Associated Press via San Francisco Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The U.S. 1st Armored Division lowered its flag this month in a ceremony that signaled the quiet return home of a unit whose tanks first rumbled onto the continent through Italy during World War II. The Wiesbaden casing of colors ceremony also marked a milestone in the ongoing transformation of the American military. More

Commissary
News


Scholarship posters
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By now, all DeCA business partners who donated to the 2011 Scholarships for Military Children program should have received a large 20-by-30 poster that recognizes all companies that donated to the program. Posters also have been sent to all commissary store directors for display in their stores. Any DeCA industry partners or store directors that would like additional copies can either pick them up from the first floor of DeCA HQ, or by sending an email with their mailing address to Jim Weiskopf at the Fisher House Foundation.

James D. Weiskopf
Vice President
Fisher House Foundation Inc.

Home address: 13125 Willow Edge Court, Clifton, Va., 20124-1080
Office address: 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, Md., 20850
Phone: 703-378-5670 (Home), 202-607-1067 (Mobile)
Email: JWeiskopf@fisherhouse.org


SN whole health: A fresh start
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Health and wellness officially has been declared cured of the recession. Industry statistics show that the organic industry — the benchmark by which all of whole health is measured — grew nearly 8 percent in 2010. Organic products outperformed their conventional counterparts in several key categories, putting sales on track to break the $30 billion mark. More

Kraft creating a 'more delicious world'
Progressive Grocer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Improving the livelihood of farmers, enhancing the nutritional profiles of its products and increasing its commitment to sustainability are among the key points in Kraft Foods' 2010 Corporate Responsibility Report. Titled "Creating a More Delicious World," the report focuses on the products, policies and partnerships that Northfield, Ill.-based Kraft is using to drive meaningful and lasting change around health and wellbeing, sustainability and food safety, as well as other important topics of societal interest. More

Super Foodtown: Not your average grocery store
Bed-Stuy Patch    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Enter the Super Foodtown at Restoration Plaza and you will be greeted by a kaleidoscope of quality produce, enough fresh seafood to make you forget you're in the heart of Brooklyn, N.Y., and an indefinable sense of warmth and hospitality. No, this is not your average grocery store, and its owner, Noah Katz, is going to great lengths to make sure of that. More

Online grocery market reaches maturity
Financial Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The online grocery business was billed a dotcom bust a decade ago, when a raft of venture-backed startups collapsed under the weight of overly ambitious expansion plans. But Wal-Mart's recent foray into the market shows how the business of food delivery has matured over the past 10 years, putting added pressure on existing companies and bricks-and-mortar stores that have been looking to expand in the grocery delivery space. More

USDA launches commodity procurement website
The Packer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The launch of a new website should provide vendors with streamlined access to information about purchase programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Commodity Procurement Division. The website, www.ams.usda.gov/CommodityPurchasing, combines Agricultural Marketing Service's purchase programs for fruit and vegetables, livestock and seed, and poultry. AMS combined its procurement for those branches recently, and the new website provides a standardized, integrated platform. More

ALA Meetings


ALA Congressional Congress
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Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Gordon will join us on the morning of June 14 in Washington, D.C., at the Rayburn House Office Building and address the congressional caucus. In light of the recent budget stress, this is a must-attend event. Click here to visit our webpage and register today!

For details on any of our events, visit our Web page at www.ala-national.org.


Exchange News


McDonald's asked to retire Ronald McDonald as marketing spokesman
Examiner.com    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
McDonald's, the world's largest hamburger chain, has been asked to retire its most famous spokesman, Ronald McDonald. A letter that was sent to McDonald's recently ran in six newspapers, according to WPTV, including the Chicago Tribune and the San Francisco Examiner. The letter was signed by 550 health organizations and professionals who asked McDonalds to stop using Ronald McDonald to market their food to children. More

Home Depot squeezes spending as gardening slows
Chicago Sun-Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Both Home Depot and Lowe's depend on the spring selling season to give them a boost, as shoppers typically head out in droves to buy seasonal items such as flowers, patio furniture and barbecue grills. But so far this year the season has been hampered by cold and rainy weather across the northern half of the country and tornadoes in the Southeast. More

Retailers pass along inflation
Supermarket News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Product-cost inflation has been manageable so far, retail executives speaking at a conference said. "The strategy is to pass inflation along, and so far, everyone is being pretty rational," said Michael Schlotman, senior vice president and chief financial officer, Kroger Co., Cincinnati, at the BMO Capital Markets 2011 Farm to Market conference. More

Wal-Mart eager on tablets, expands wireless focus
Reuters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The tough task of selling electronics should ease up a bit as shoppers scoop up tablets and television prices stop plunging, the head of Wal-Mart's U.S. entertainment division said. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is starting to devote less space to electronics at U.S. stores, but is definitely not walking away from any parts of the business. More

Washington retailers, restaurants aim to revamp liquor distribution, sales
Progressive Grocer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
A coalition of retailers and restaurants, among them Costco, the Northwest Grocery Association and the Washington Restaurant Association, has filed a ballot initiative that seeks to privatize the distribution and sale of liquor in Washington state, in a move it believes will pour hundreds of millions of dollars in extra revenue into state and local governments. More

NRF backs repeal of health care employer mandate
National Retail Federation    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Recently introduced Congressional legislation aimed at repealing the employer mandate provision of last year's health reform law has the full endorsement of the nation's largest trade association. "Additional health care costs cannot be absorbed," said NRF's David French in a letter to the chairman of the House Ways and Means Oversight subcommittee. "Our members are already reporting fewer hires, franchises and other retail store openings as a consequence." The American Job Protection Act, introduced recently, would use an amendment to the tax code to repeal a requirement that companies with 50 or more full-time workers provide insurance or face penalties for failing to do so. More

In hardware, older buyers head online
MarketingDaily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Tool sales took a dive along with the housing market during the recession and as the tool market begins to recover, do-it-yourselfers are shifting the way they buy, according to new data from NPD Group. One key finding — more older consumers are buying hand tools and power tools online, and the Internet now accounts for 9 percent of all power tool purchases, the report found. More

Best Buy woos students: Free Xbox with laptop
Kantar Retail    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Combining play and study, Best Buy hopes to secure the newest generation of students with an offer of a free Xbox 360 with a purchase of a Windows 7 laptop. More

How Apple Stores rewrote the rules of retailing
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The retail industry has a hard case of Apple envy. For good reason. The maker of fashionable gadgets today celebrates 10 years since the launch of its first Apple Stores, marking a record run of sales and a new world order in retailing. "They grew faster than any other retailer in history" in the first three years, says Robin Lewis, co-author of "The New Rules of Retail," who points to their numbers. More

Thieves swipe debit card data
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Thieves tampered with debit-card readers at Michaels stores in 20 states and used the data they retrieved to create new cards and go shopping in California, the company revealed. Criminals perpetrated a similar crime at ALDI supermarkets last year, and incidents are on the rise. Often, thieves install devices that read card data and PIN numbers by distracting cashiers or posing as repairmen, and many actually switch out the stores' machines for ones already set up to send them the data, NRF's Joe LaRocca says. More

Kohl's focuses on smaller stores
Dayton Business Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Kohl's Corp. looks to smaller stores as it continues to expand across the country, Chairman and CEO Kevin Mansell said following the company's annual meeting. Kohl's expects to open 40 new stores this year, and 30 of them will be smaller models. Its smaller stores tend to be about 60,000 square feet, compared with 90,000 square feet for a typical store, Mansell said. More

Limited Brands names new CEO for Bath and Body Works
Reuters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
Apparel retailer Limited Brands Inc. appointed Diane Neal as chief executive officer of its Bath and Body Works division, replacing Neil Fiske, who is joining Eddie Bauer Holdings Inc. as its CEO. Neal was earlier the chief operating officer of Bath and Body Works, Limited said in a statement. More

Retailers fret over coupon craze
The Palm Beach Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The reality show "Extreme Couponing" has serious coupon clippers concerned with the way it portrays the misuse of coupon. Now retail chains are looking for ways to curb coupon abuse, with some limiting the number of coupons shoppers can use in one trip, capping the amount of a single product people can purchase at once, or as with Publix, posting a list of the competitors' coupons the store will accept. More

What impact will users feel from plan to cut debit card fees?
USA Today    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The battle about a plan to slash the fees retailers pay banks every time a shopper uses a debit card has reached epic proportions, with both sides spending millions of dollars to convince lawmakers that they're looking out for average Americans. More

Sam's Club buys retail giant
The Wall Street Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s flagship chain has lurched from one failed sales strategy to another over the past year, its Sam's Club membership-warehouse stores have steadily improved sales, delivering a rare bright spot for the flailing retail giant. Once the laggard of the Wal-Mart business, Sam's Club has notched consecutively larger sales gains in each of the past four quarters. More

Penney make-over boosts profit
Portfolio    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
J.C. Penney's efforts to revitalize its brand and land more exclusive lines helped boost the chain's first-quarter same-store sales, and cost-cutting measures such as eliminating its catalog division and closing under-performing stores led to higher profits, the company recently reported. In recent years, J.C. Penney has added exclusive lines from designers including Liz Claiborne and added in-store shops from Sephora and Mango. More

Wal-Mart making little plans
Chicago Tribune    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Wal-Mart's Neighborhood Market in Indianapolis is a smaller grocery store focused largely on fresh produce and baked goods, a prototype the chain hopes will work in high-density neighborhoods in Chicago and other large U.S. cities. The company also plans to debut an even smaller concept, the 15,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Express, near its Bentonville, Ark., headquarters this summer. More

Retailers drive traffic and sales with text messages
Internet Retailer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Up to 35 percent of consumers who have opted in to receive targeted promotional text messages from a retailer or brand subsequently visit that store or online retailer site, according to research conducted by Placecast Inc., a vendor of text-based marketing services. More

Best practice for department stores using QR codes
Mobile Commerce Daily    Share    Share on
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Upscale department store chains including Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman have increased their use of QR codes in marketing efforts aimed at creating more personal relationships with shoppers. "Luxury shoppers may be less likely to buy online, so getting them into the store experience is critical," said Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy, New York. More

Best Buy subleases in Texas stores
Kantar Retail    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In its first move to shrink overall big box store square footage, Best Buy is offering subleases in its Texas stores. The retailer had announced plans to decrease its overall retail footprint in the U.S. by 10 percent within the next 5 years through subleases, moving store locations and renegotiating leases. More

Washington Update


Military recognizes role of spouses
U.S. Army    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
May 6 was Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which the Department of Defense marked with ceremonies and celebrations on installations worldwide. President Barack Obama noted that spouses are part "of the force behind the force" during his remarks last month to announce a national initiative tagged "Joining Forces," which is aimed at increasing the support of U.S. military families. More

Family Resiliency Academy brings CSF to families
U.S. Army    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In August 2010, 150 individuals were selected Armywide from Army Community Service to attend a nine-day training session to become Master Resilience Trainers. Upon completion of the training, these individuals became responsible for performing resilience training for family members at their respective installations. This builds on the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program Master Resilience Training, begun in October 2008, which assists Soldiers and families in maximizing their potential physical, emotional, social, family and spiritual wellbeing. Comprehensive Soldier Fitness is being taught Armywide to soldiers, family members and Department of the Army Civilians. More

The Army Family Covenant
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In the words of our secretary and chief of staff of the Army, never before in the history of our Army have we asked so much of our families. They are serving side-by-side with our soldiers, enduring their hardships and providing the unconditional love and support that truly make our Army strong. The Army Family Covenant pledges our commitment to support soldiers and their families, and resource programs to provide them a quality of life commensurate with their service.

On Oct. 8, 2007, the Army unveiled the Army Family Covenant, which institutionalizes the Army's commitment to provide soldiers and families — Active, Guard and Reserve — a quality of life commensurate with their level of service and sacrifice to the nation. It commits the Army to improve family readiness by:
  • Standardizing family programs and services
  • Increasing accessibility to health care
  • Improving soldier and family housing
  • Ensuring excellence in child, youth and school services
  • Expanding education and employment opportunities for family members
The Army Family Covenant is in its second year, and the commitment is enduring. The Army has made significant progress in improving family programs, health care, housing, child and youth services, recreation, education and employment opportunities, but there is still work to be done to build an environment where Army families can prosper and realize their full potential.
 
 

Executive Briefing
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