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It is not a rumor anymore!:
DoD could put groceries on the chopping block
The Pentagon is going after the groceries in its latest anti-sequestration gambit.
After a few press reports this past week, the Defense Department confirmed that it's considering closing commissaries at military bases throughout the U.S. as part of the belt-tightening it says is necessary under sequestration.
The move seems certain to draw uproar from troops and their families who prize their access to the discounted on-base grocery stores. And defense officials likely hope the anger will translate into new pressure on Congress to undo sequestration.
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has not made a decision about whether to go forward with closing the commissaries, but acknowledged "that is one of the courses of action that is being looked at."
Warren was asked specifically whether the Pentagon was investigating that course as a way to pressure Congress.
"I don't do politics," he said. But he reemphasized the Pentagon's position that sequestration was causing problems throughout the military, including with the services' levels of readiness and, potentially, with some of the benefits for troops and their families.
"It was designed to cause pain," Warren said of sequestration, "and I believe it's working."
Pentagon reformers and budget hawks, including Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., have targeted the Defense Commissary Agency before, including with proposals to close it or combine it with the services' on-base uniform and convenience stores, known as the exchanges. In the past, the Pentagon or its allies in Congress have been able to rescue them, but this time the threat comes from the Pentagon itself.
No matter where it originates, closing the commissaries is a bad idea, troops' advocates say.
"Military families are going to suffer from this decision," said Michelle Joyner, a spokeswoman for the National Military Family Association. "The value that families and service members get from the investment that is put into the commissaries can't be matched by any type of dollar offset or any other non-cash compensation. This is a really great return on our investment."
Congress has mandated a 5 percent surcharge for goods sold in the commissaries, but DCA says its shoppers still save an average of more than 30 percent, compared with what they'd pay off base. And that amounts to about $4,400 in savings for a family of four, the agency says.
Plus the stores provide even more value beyond that, Joyner said.
"It's a source of community. So many military families live off the installation. The commissaries and exchanges become convening points. For that 70 percent of people who don't live in on-base housing, they come on base, get info about the programs they're eligible for. It's definitely a morale issue."
Warren said he did not have any estimates about how much the Pentagon might save by closing the commissaries inside the U.S., but he restated defense officials' position that Congress must go along with reforming military pay and benefits. Hagel regularly warns that the Defense Department's personnel costs consume about half its budget and are growing unsustainably, but members of Congress usually balk at those kinds of cuts.
In fact, last year Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., who was chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's personnel panel, backed language that would extend commissary and exchange benefits for troops who had been involuntarily separated as a part of "force shaping" from budget cuts.
"I remain a strong supporter of military commissaries and exchanges," Wilson said at the time, "and will continue to work to ensure that these programs endure through this era of budget challenges and remain the effective benefits that have served the our men and women in uniform and the nation for so long."
Pentagon requests plan to close stateside commissaries
Read the Full Story
Hanford Sentinel , Tom Philpott
Tasked by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to find ways to preserve force readiness amid sharply falling budgets, his comptroller and the Joint Staff have asked the Defense Commissary Agency for a plan to close all stateside base grocery stores, say military resale community sources.
DoD seeks plan to shut all US commissaries
Read the Full Story
Federal Times, Karen Jowers
Defense officials have asked the Defense Commissary Agency to develop a plan to close all U.S. commissaries — about three-fourths of its stores, according to a resale community source familiar with details of a meeting with representatives of the Joint Staff and Pentagon comptroller's office.
Top brass claims personnel costs are swamping DoD, but budget figures say otherwise
Read the Full Story
Army Times, Andrew Tilghman
To hear the top brass talk sometimes, you might think the biggest threat to national security is your paycheck. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel sounded the alarm about military compensation and personnel costs as a major problem during a recent speech to an influential Washington think tank.
Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association
Happy Thanksgiving from your ALA!
May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have never a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
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Report: Expect sequestration to hit much harder in 2014
Less severe cuts, deferred costs and temporary solutions mitigated sequestration's effect in its inaugural year, but will not help lessen the impact in 2014, according to a new report. The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, said the tactics federal agencies used to reduce furloughs in fiscal 2013 are, in many cases, no longer available. In fact, they will largely accentuate the severity of the cuts this time around.
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Commissary Web Posts
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website as of 10 a.m., Nov. 26, 2013.
DP #23, Update #2.
DP #1, Update 1 and Promotion & Shipper Quantities.
DP #3, Pacific Promotion Quantities.
Easter, Far East & Alaska Quantities.
Mother's Day, WW Promotion Package.
NOTICES TO TRADE
CRV Values, November 24, 2013.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
March 5-7, 2014: 2014 Exchange Roundtable at Marriott Norfolk Waterside, Norfolk, Va. Registration is open.
Fresh, shell-protected eggs
Federal Business Opportunities
The NAICS Code is 112310. The Defense Commissary Agency is seeking fresh, shell-protected egg companies who are capable of providing several types of eggs and quantities to at least 52 Commissary locations in DeCA's West Area; delivery days and hours will vary per location. See attached map for proposed geographical groupings.
Shopping cart retrievers
Federal Business Opportunities
This Request for Quotes is being issued as 100 percent total small business set-aside. The RFQ is for manual wheelchair handicap shopping carts to be delivered to Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the Continental United States, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A Firm-Fixed Price purchase order is contemplated.
Military Family Residents Mailing List: Active Duty families at home address on military bases
Judy Johnson's Military Family Mailbox: Co-op envelope
MilitaryShoppers.com Email: Opt-in email list of registered members
Contact: Military Media Inc. 845-454-7900.
Providing media to reach the military audience since 1974.
Turkey prices, food price inflation lower this holiday
Holiday shoppers can expect less expensive turkeys and moderate price increases on other Thanksgiving staples this holiday season, a Purdue Extension agricultural economist said. In the U.S., average annual food price inflation is about 2.5 percent, but this year grocery food prices are running just 1 percent higher than 2012 prices.
Making the most of candy, every day
When it comes to grocery retail categories, confectionery is a sweet spot: 98 percent of households purchase candy, spending $95.64 annually. It's profitable, with gum the No. 1 and candy the No. 3 most profitable of the center store categories. For supermarket retailers, there's even more to smile about. Margins on candy sales are 37.1 percent at the front end, and a healthy 28.1 percent in the candy aisle. But consider the jump of all these numbers if consumers made a purchase every 15 days instead of the current 16-day average. Or what if a seasonal candy purchase turned into an everyday candy purchase?
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Black widows found in supermarket grapes in several states
Food Safety News
Supermarket chain Aldi pulled its entire stock of grapes from Milwaukee, Wis., stores earlier this month after a shopper found a live black widow spider in a container of red grapes purchased from Aldi's Wauwatosa, Wis., store. Similar occurrences have happened in recent months in Michigan, Missouri and Minnesota. Aldi has said it will implement additional inspection procedures at its warehouses and stores in hopes of preventing any further problems.
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Personalized supermarket prices could become norm
San Francisco Chronicle
Individualized pricing could become the norm in a few years, as grocers — from Safeway to Kroger and Canada's Metro — try to customize offers that will increase sales and keep shoppers from switching to competitors' stores. "Maybe over time, shelf prices become less relevant to a subset of shoppers," said Mike Minasi, Safeway's president of marketing. The idea is to mirror the targeted shopping experience of online retailers such as Amazon.com, which suggest items to buy based on past purchases.
More than any other time of year, the holidays are rife with opportunity for consumers to indulge in a second helping – or third, if nobody's looking – of the season's most delectable fare. Yet holiday sweets can turn quickly sour, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as 1 in 6 people get sick each year nationwide from foodborne illnesses.
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IRS to take a closer look at small business filings
Speaking at the American Institute of CPAs, IRS Small Business/Self-Employed division head Faris Fink said the agency will be shifting its auditing focus from corporations to small-business partnerships, which have grown significantly in number over the last six years.
DoD requests plan to close stateside commissaries
Tasked by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to find ways to preserve force readiness amid sharply falling budgets, his comptroller and the Joint Staff have asked the DeCA for a plan to close all stateside base grocery stores, say military resale community sources.
Congressional hearing update
ALA, AFMC, DoD officials, and resale leaders recently testified at a Congressional hearing regarding the status of military resale programs and how they are working together in a fiscally constrained environment.
Annual holiday luncheon
The Dallas/Ft. Worth Chapter of the American Logistics Association will be hosting its annual holiday luncheon and auction on Friday, Dec. 13, 2013. The luncheon will be held at the Las Colinas Country Club from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. We are excited to announce that Mr. Tom Shull, Director/CEO of AAFES and Ana Middleton, AAFES Senior VP will be our guest speakers this year.
Click here for more info and to register!
If you are interested in attending, please fill out the registration form by Friday, Dec. 6, and return to Julie Fox by email or mail.
We look forward to seeing you there!
Wal-Mart taps veteran as new CEO
The Wall Street Journal
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. named Douglas McMillon as its next chief executive, handing the job to a long-serving insider who, at just 47 years old, will be the youngest CEO since Sam Walton to helm the giant retailer.
Gap dares to ask: Are customers tired of all our sales?
A string of retail companies have been singing the same holiday tune the past few weeks: Get ready for a price war. Despite a bullish stock market and improving economy, consumers are being stingy and appear to require serious coaxing in the shopping weeks ahead. Gap Chief Executive Officer Glenn Murphy has a different perspective. Customers, he warned, are sick and tired of being bombarded by sales.
Black Friday has some real oddballs getting in on the action
Black Friday — the hallowed day of retail deals — is getting hijacked by total oddballs. It's one thing to nab a Black Friday deal on a high-definition TV or a snazzy pair of sneakers. But it's something else entirely to snatch a Black Friday discount from the dentist, veterinarian, car wash and yes, even the mortgage lender.
No deals, no spending
The Associated Press
Without deals this holiday season, some consumers may shy away from spending money at their favorite stores, a few big chains, such as Wal-Mart and Kohl's, predict.
As holidays approach, retailers fight for sales
The New York Times
Major retailers are bracing for a tough holiday season, reflected again this past week in the gloomy third-quarter earnings issued by Target and Sears.
Millennials nearly 4 times more likely to shop on Black Friday than boomers
Baby boomers are hardly gearing up for Black Friday, while perhaps surprising, more than a quarter of millennials plan to hit the mall this week. That's according to DDB Worldwide's new research, which finds that 26 percent of millennials intend to get the brunt of their gift buying done on Black Friday, while just 7 percent of baby boomers plan to do the same.
Economy: Resilient shoppers offer holiday hope to retailers
Consumers spent at the fastest pace in three months in October, snapping up everything from clothing and electronics to sporting goods and restaurant meals, a recent government report showed. Economists, surprised by the spending strength, said the momentum will carry into year-end.
Sears' loss widens as sales soften at Kmart, Sears
Chain Store Age
Sears Holdings widened its loss in the third quarter as sales decreased at both its Sears and Kmart units. The retailer is in the midst of trying to transform its business, with less emphasis on brick-and-mortar stores.
Dollar Tree Q3 profit down
Chain Store Age
Dollar Tree Inc. reported that its net income in the third quarter fell 19 percent, impacted by a one-time gain a year related to selling its stake in the Ollie's Holdings chain. The company forecast results for the fourth quarter below Street expectations.
Shoppers will spend half their holiday budget during Thanksgiving sales
Chain Store Age
More than 60 percent of consumers will start holiday shopping on Black Friday and most will spend more than 50 percent of their holiday budget over the Thanksgiving weekend, according to research by the Georgetown Institute for Consumer Research, sponsored by KPMG.
Major retailers agree to inspection standards in Bangladesh
The New York Times
Two groups of retailers — one dominated by American companies, the other by European brands — recently announced that they had agreed on joint inspection standards for thousands of garment factories in Bangladesh as part of their effort to improve workplace safety there.
Men's luxury shops lose snob appeal
The Wall Street Journal
It is OK to touch the ties. It is fine to feel the scarves. It is encouraged to try on the sunglasses. In a bid to be seen as less stuffy, stodgy and intimidating, luxury retailers including Barneys New York, Bergdorf Goodman and Paul Stuart are redesigning their men's departments to attract more shoppers, including younger shoppers.
Santa to deliver game systems, iPads to children this year
National Retail Federation
Classic toys like LEGO and Barbie are still popular with children, but nontraditional items are finding a way onto children's wish lists this year, according to NRF's 2013 Top Toys survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics. For the first time, iPads are among the most popular gifts for both girls and boys, with demand among young girls being slightly higher (girls No. 4, boys No. 13).
Best Buy cuts prices, warns on holiday-quarter margins
Best Buy Co is cutting prices for the holiday season to thwart fierce competition from Wal-Mart and other discount and online rivals, a move that it warns will hurt margins for the current quarter.
Commercial breaks that keep a story going
The New York Times
A year after an innovative marketing effort for the Christmas shopping season brought together Target and ABC, the retailer and the network are teaming up again. Ads use characters from popular sitcoms to tell a connected tale related to the Target 2013 Christmas campaign that carries the theme "My kind of holiday."
RadioShack: Opening on Thanksgiving Day isn't worth it
Dallas Business Journal
A shortened holiday shopping period this year has led struggling retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. to join companies such as Macy’s, Best Buy and Wal-Mart in opening on Thanksgiving evening in pursuit of shoppers' first dollars of the season. While Fort Worth-based RadioShack Corp. also is struggling to make a comeback, don't count it among the businesses that will flip on the "open" sign on Thanksgiving. RadioShack said making its employees work on the holiday isn't worth it.
Amazon's toys cheaper than Wal-Mart online
Amazon.com Inc.'s toy prices were lower than those available online from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. this past week as retailers seek to attract shoppers heading into the crucial holiday selling season.
Google delivers giant packs of toilet paper, just in time for the holidays
Google's stated aim is to bring you the world's information. Now it will also bring you 30 rolls of toilet paper. The search giant recently said Costco, everyone's favorite purveyor of oversized consumer goods, is joining the Google Shopping Express same-day delivery service.
Wal-Mart says insurance costs may hurt customer spending
The Wall Street Journal
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has a long list of reasons why its customers aren't spending as much as hoped: the expiration of the payroll tax cut in January, the November rollback of food-stamp benefits and continued uncertainty in Washington. Now, the world's largest retailer is hinting at a new one: the looming individual mandate to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Target to open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving
Chain Store Age
Target Corp. has joined the growing ranks of retailers who will open earlier on Thanksgiving this year. The company said it is making the change in response to competitive pressure and demand from shoppers.
Kohl's announces Black Friday deals
Chains Store Age
Kohl's recently announced an array of Black Friday sales events, kicking off at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. "We've stepped up in a big way to establish Kohl's as the ultimate, one-stop destination for Black Friday shoppers," said Michelle Gass, Kohl's chief customer officer.
PetSmart CEO sees room for growth
If you had dialed into the financial-analyst webcast held by PetSmart Inc. a few weeks ago, it might have sounded like an episode of "Dr. Phil." David Lenhardt, the Phoenix company's new chief executive officer, opened the presentation by talking about passion, love and self-improvement — and how dogs, cats and other pets can bring out these and other traits and emotions in people.
Department stores add jobs
Women's Wear Daily
Retailers appeared to shrug off concerns about the government shutdown and potential debt default in mid-October, as hiring continued at a steady pace in most segments last month, the U.S. Labor Department's recent monthly employment report showed.
Kmart launches lease-to-own program nationwide
Chicago Business Journal
After testing a lease-to-own financing program in October, Kmart recently roll out the service to stores nationwide for this holiday season. Unlike a layaway plan, the lease-to-own program allows customers to take home expensive items such as appliances and furniture right away while paying for the purchase in regular installments.
Blockbuster to close US retail stores, mail DVD operation
It's the last picture show for Blockbuster. The retail company that introduced millions of Americans to stay-home movie nights recently said it will close its 300 remaining U.S. stores by early January next year. Its DVD-by-mail business, introduced as a competitor to Netflix, also will be shut down by mid-December.
Urban Outfitters, others plunge aggressively into online sales
The Philadelphia Inquirer
They are rising in farm country west of King of Prussia like giant garrisons positioned to deploy packages to shoppers up and down the Atlantic Coast: automated warehouses of herculean proportions aimed at moving online orders to people's doorsteps in just hours.
Is Black Friday dead?
With more retailers shifting the start of their big holiday pushes to Thanksgiving, it prompts the question of whether Black Friday even exists in the traditional sense. Macy's, J.C. Penney and Kohl's are the latest retailers to hop on the Thanksgiving bandwagon to stay competitive in an increasingly promotional retail landscape.
Why teens aren't going to the mall as much as they used to
Teens aren't frequenting malls as much as they used to, putting retailers like American Eagle, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Aeropostale in trouble. Teens are visiting the mall 28 times per year, down about 30 percent from the peak in 2007, according to a recent report by Piper Jaffray. This "mindset change in shopping" is probably permanent, according to the report.
Mobile inspires new retail store designs that go beyond the Apple Store
Mobile's influence on the in-store experience extends beyond iPad point-of-sale systems and shopping applications, with retailers completely rethinking store design and merchandising to better meet the needs of the smartphone-equipped customer.
Marketing to the newest generation of shoppers
By Emma Fitzpatrick
A huge lifestyle and consumer trend is that the newest shoppers of 2014 will be hitting the market in a big way: the millennials. They're going to begin buying houses, which means decor, gardening and furniture, too. Millennials are those between the ages of 18-34, and they currently make up 23 percent of the U.S. population. That means that 23 percent of those with spending power in the upcoming year will be the millennials. The following are top marketing tricks and tips to connect, engage and convert millennials from budding to devout customers.
October's retail sales show hints of economic recovery, solid holiday shopping season
International Business Times
A growth in retail sales in October seem to be promising a merry holiday sales season for the retail sector and signaling that the economy is picking up despite the recent government shutdown. October retail sales numbers recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau show retail sales increased 0.4 percent from September and 3.9 percent from last year, and FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm, forecasts a 4.9 percent increase in this season's holiday sales.
The contours of the consumer landscape
Retail's BIG Blog
With the government shutdown and the federal budget and debt ceiling debacle temporarily in the rearview mirror and the holidays fast approaching, it is a good time to take stock of the American consumer and the broader national economy. It is also a good opportunity to look ahead to the next few months.
'Common sense' menu labeling legislation reaches senate
Convenience Store News
The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act was recently introduced in the U.S. Senate as a way to codify a less burdensome approach to menu labeling. It includes language addressing retailers that are covered by federal menu-labeling requirements, including convenience stores.
NEXCOM 2014 ad schedule
Click here to view the new 2014 Nexcom ad schedule.
2014 Exchange Roundtable
March 5-7, 2014
Norfolk Waterside Marriott
Why do I need to be there for this event?
Attend the March 2014 Roundtable in Norfolk to better understand The critical significance of the Military Resale Exchanges in a new Defense budget era and how you too can help by participating in an all-new panel and town hall format.
Military resale and VCS programs meet critical criteria for Defense and Veterans programs, providing a model to emulate, not a program to decimate. In short, we are all part of the solution to present and future challenges, to increase the benefit and not reduce the benefit for our service members and their families.
Exchanges, Canteens and Commissaries provide this model because it offers the ability to produce and support a highly valued benefit with high personnel support, retention, and compensation value, all at little net cost and a significant financial ROI return to the Department of Defense and Veterans Administration.
What will you do and how can you help support the tremendous sacrifice of our military personnel and their families? Please join us in Norfolk.
The headquarters hotel for this meeting is the Marriott Norfolk Waterside located at 235 E Main Street, Norfolk, VA 23510. The Marriot is offering a discounted group rate to industry attendees: $112 single, plus taxes. To take advantage of this discount, contact the Marriott at 1-800-228-9390 or 757-627-4200, and mention the "American Logistics Association 2014 Exchange Roundtable." This discounted rate will be offered through 5pm eastern, Feb. 12, 2014,, or until the ALA room block fills. Hotel rooms are reserved on a first come, first served basis and attendees are encouraged to make reservations as soon as possible for best availability.
Government/Military Partner Reservations:
The Government Per Diem room block secured by ALA is reserved for those persons employed by AAFES (The Exchange), MCCS, NEXCOM, CGES, VCS, DOD or DeCA. The Marriott will require proper ID upon checking in. To reserve a room at the GPD rate, please complete the GPD Hotel Reservation Form and return it to ALA no later than COB Feb. 10, 2014. Reservations will be made on a first come first served basis and, once the GPD block is full, ALA cannot guarantee that a reservation at the GPD rate will be available.
Cancellation requests must be submitted in writing. Cancellations received by Feb. 3, 2014, will receive a full refund. Cancellations received between Feb. 4-21 will be subject to a $250 processing fee. No refunds will be issued for cancellations received after February 21st or for "no-shows". Cancellation refunds will be processed by original method of payment. All refunds will be processed post-meeting and mailed directly to the individual on the registration form. Cancelled registrations may be transferred to individuals within the same company, upon written request. Cancelled registrations may not be transferred to another ALA meeting. Any cancellations resulting due to a family or medical emergency must be submitted in writing by within three days of the start of the meeting to receive a refund.
Click here for the Industry Registration Form (for check payments only)
Click here for the GPD Hotel Reservation Form
AAFES Sales October 2013
CGX Sales October 2013
NEXCOM Sales October 2013
Exchange YTD and Monthly Summary's 2012
NEX-November 2013 Holiday Lunch Meeting Slides
ALA Executive Briefing (archive link)
AAFES Press release Archive 2010-2012
AAFES sales flyers (to view click below)
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Save the dates:
Dec. 5, 2013: ALA NY Chapter Annual Holiday Luncheon, New York City
Dec. 13, 2013: ALA DFW Chapter holiday luncheon
Where: Las Colinas Country Club, 4400 N. O'Connor Blvd., Irving, Texas
Guest speakers include: CEO Tom Shull and CMO Ana Middleton
Click here to view flier.
March 5-7, 2014: ALA Exchange Roundtable, Norfolk Waterside Marriott in Norfolk, Va.
Click here to view flier.
Go to: www.ALA-National.org, sign in and CHECK OUT the information.
Civilian retiree identification card to be replaced
Retired Air Force civilians who use the Air Force Form 354, Civilian Identification Card, to access Air Force installations have until early 2014 when the AF354 will be rescinded to get a Department of Defense Civilian Retiree ID Card or other access credentials, Air Force Personnel Center officials said.
DoD seeks plan to shut all US commissaries
Defense officials have reportedly asked the Defense Commissary Agency to develop a plan to close all U.S. commissaries — about three-fourths of its stores, according to a resale community source familiar with details of a meeting with representatives of the Joint Staff and Pentagon comptroller's office.
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063