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A holiday message:
As we approach the most joyous and for many of us the most sacred time of the year, we wish each other a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays according to our custom and almost instinctively say, write or sing "Peace on Earth, good will to men."
And so we're offering this simple phrase,
For our heroes from Camp Leatherneck to Bagram Field,
Although it's been said many times, many ways,
Merry Christmas to you
ALA Leadership Team meets with the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission:
Your ALA leadership team of Pat Nixon, Steve Rossetti, Candace Wheeler accompanied by economist William Blumberg (author of the Economic Analysis) meet with Susan Schleigh, Associate Director Quality of Life and Mark Murphy, Research Analyst Quality of Life to discuss the charter and challenges facing the military compensation commission. We had several hours of insightful discussion in an effort to help frame a working outline for moving forward. As an organization the ALA has a unique perspective from an understanding the internal operations in this business channel, the political implications associated with its history and current policy platform and the voice of the patron reflected in the Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefit. We plan to engage the Commission on a frequent basis moving forward to assist their effort in defining a sustainable benefit model for the future of military resale.
Thoughts on closing commissaries:
Trim military commissaries? Them's fightin' words
Read the Full Story
Omaha Wolrd-Herald, Steve Liewer
No matter where in the world the Air Force took them, service members and their families always knew they could count on one familiar thing: a modern commissary well stocked with low-cost American groceries. Now cash-strapped Pentagon leaders are looking to squeeze the $1.4 billion subsidy given to the Defense Commissary Agency, which runs 178 commissaries in the United States and 70 more overseas.
My grocery bill will skyrocket if military stores close
Read the Full Story
CNNMoney via WGMB-TV, Jennifer Liberto
Commissaries are supermarkets for families of active duty or retired military personnel. And their future is uncertain because the Pentagon is in a financial bind, thanks to the sequester, or forced budget cuts triggered in March. Even though the latest budget deal eases defense cuts for two years, an official said he expects the Pentagon to continue "looking at everything for budget savings long term."
Military Partners and Families Coalition joins efforts to protect Commissary and Exchange benefits
Read the Full Story
Business Wire via Air & Cosmos
The Military Partners and Families Coalition has joined The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits, which now represents nearly 2 million service members – active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, and veterans – and their families. Troops and their families have become increasingly concerned by ongoing attacks to their earned benefits. The news that the Department of Defense is considering a proposal to close all stateside commissaries set off a firestorm within the military community. Although no final decisions have been made, the official word from the Pentagon is that 'all cost-cutting efforts need to be on the table.'
Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association
The race for HASC Chairman has begun
Real Clear Defense
No one knows if there will be a race for the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress. But based on the chatter in defense circles on Capitol Hill and around Washington, the race is on. And the likely favorite says he's ready to step up should the current chairman, Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, choose to retire at the end of this term.
Budget deal proves that Congress CAN take on military pay, benefits costs
As bitter as the budget battle has become, there's no topic more toxic than pay and benefits for military personnel. Pentagon budgeteers and the top brass warn that increasing compensation costs, especially for health care, are growing at an unsustainable pace that threatens every other priority from weapons procurement to combat training.
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Pentagon policy bill clears final hurdle
The U.S. Senate recently moved one step closer to extending — just barely — a 51-year streak of sending the president an annual Pentagon policy bill. The upper chamber voted to end debate on the House-passed national defense authorization act that would clear the Pentagon to spend $607 billion in fiscal 2014. It authorizes $527 billion in base funding and $80 billion for America's global conflicts.
Senate OKs sequester-relief budget plan
The Senate recently approved a controversial bipartisan budget plan that erases over $30 billion in across-the-board spending cuts in 2014 and 2015. The former round of cuts would have kicked in next month.
Cuts to military retirement increases likely to become law, critics vow to keep fighting
Stars and Stripes
Recently, veterans advocates and their Senate Republican backers vowed to fight until the end to stop a budget deal that includes cuts to military retirement increases. A 67-33 procedural vote in the Senate shortly after that press conference put the budget deal on a likely path to becoming law. Now, those opponents will have to gear up for a fight next year to repeal or replace the cuts.
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Armed Services panel to review retirement changes in budget deal
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., recently said his committee would review the changes to military retirement benefits included in the budget deal before they fully take effect. Levin said that next year his panel would examine the reduction in cost-of-living adjustments for working-age military retirees that was included in the agreement reached between House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash.
Reid files cloture on budget deal
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., started the procedural process so that the Senate can debate and pass the budget and the National Defense Authorization Act before leaving from the Christmas holiday. Reid filed cloture on the budget deal brokered by Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and her House counterpart, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which would end $63 billion of sequester spending cuts, and add in new fees and some federal savings to cut the budget deficit by $23 billion more in 2014.
Republican senators battle budget cuts targeting military retirees
A handful of Senate Republicans are balking at a provision in the budget deal that would cut benefits to military retirees. The deal would decrease the annual cost-of-living adjustment for working-age military retirees by 1 percent, cutting approximately $6 billion in spending over 10 years.
Reform of military retiree benefits is a hard battle for federal government
The Washington Post
Not all military retirees fought in combat, but as a group they certainly know how to attack any legislative plan that cuts into their pensions. So don't count on the $6.2 billion in savings over the next 10 years promised in the original budget agreement reached by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. It calls for reducing annual cost-of-living adjustments in retiree pay by 1 percent, but only for those who retire after 20 years of active service, are not disabled and generally are still in their 40s. The COLA reduction lasts until they hit 62, at which time they go back to full cost-of-living increases.
Missed last week's issue? See which articles your colleagues read most.
Commissary Web Posts
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website as of 10 a.m., Dec. 19, 2013.
DP #3, Alaska Quantities.
DP #6, WW Promotion Package, National Nutrition Month Specials.
Passover Promotion Package.
Winter Club Pack, February Quantities.
2014 Vendor Shipper Quantities Due Dates to MBU Promotions.
NOTICES TO TRADE
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 13-51.
New Items Activated in CAO – Zone 28 Test, 17 Dec 13.
Performance Measures, Bi-Weekly Fill Rate Reports, 1 – 15 Dec 13.
CRV Values, 15 December 2013.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR
March 5-7, 2014: 2014 Exchange Roundtable at Marriott Norfolk Waterside, Norfolk, Va. Registration is open.
Target walks fine line on stocking stores some shoppers frustrated
American Express OPEN Forum
Large big-box chains like Target and Wal-Mart operate thousands of stores with complicated inventory systems, so the occasional out-of-stock is not unusual. But some consumers and analysts say Target's ambition has at times outpaced its supply chain, especially as the retailer expands into food and groceries, opens new international stores and faces brutal price wars during the holiday shopping season.
Amazon said to launch Pantry to take on Costco, Sam's
Amazon.com is working on a new business called Pantry that will help it expand further into the giant consumer package goods market and take on warehouse club stores Costco and Wal-Mart's Sam's Club, according to three people familiar with the effort.
Safeway makes website more accessible for visually impaired
Chain Store Age
Safeway has made its online grocery shopping website more accessible and usable for Safeway shoppers with visual impairments. Safeway collaborated with its visually impaired customers to make the necessary changes to its website. As such, the company has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.0 level AA as its accessibility standard.
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Holiday shopping puts a squeeze on grocery budgets
Consumers are making an effort to lower food expenditures in December, likely due higher bills stacking up as Christmas approaches. An online survey found consumers were planning to decrease the amount of money they spend on meals at home and away from home by about three percent this month.
Crowded stores lead consumers to think and behave differently
Recent research in the American Marketing Association's Journal of Marketing Research finds that, as the environment becomes more socially crowded, consumers show an increased preference for products with safety connotations. A crowded environment causes consumers to process marketing messages differently and actually appear to become more averse to risk in general.
AmazonFresh vs. supermarket
Five years after Amazon launched AmazonFresh in its hometown of Seattle, the service has arrived in San Francisco. Those who long hungered to shop for groceries online now can. But how does the experience stack up to a regular supermarket?
Survey: Promotions up at natural/organic stores
Wolfe Research's quarterly survey of more than 150 natural and organic food retailers, conducted shortly after Thanksgiving, showed 58 percent of value-focused natural food stores and 54 percent of specialty natural retailers reporting an increase in promotional activity. Those figures represent the highest percentage of positive responses to that question over Wolfe's four surveys this year. The company also conducted surveys following Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.
How 'Big Grocery' is starting to bite consumers
Despite filling your shopping cart with dozens of brands every week, your grocery-store experience is being controlled by an increasingly small handful of big companies. That lack of diversity, says a new report from advocacy group Food & Water Watch, is preventing competition and keeping prices higher.
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Business reviews now available on the ALA Business Resource
Nearly 7 out of 10 people read online reviews before making a purchase, and in the business-to-business world, reviews are even more important in the decision-making process. To help in your purchasing decisions, we are pleased to announce that we've now incorporated business reviews into our ALA Business Resource. Now you have the opportunity to share your experiences with a company's products or services with your fellow colleagues, or read what others have to say about a potential future vendor. Visit the ALA Business Resource to search for qualified product and service providers and write a review.
The Coalition in the news ...
The Coalition To Save Our Military Shopping Benefits was quoted in the Omaha World-Herald article: Trim military commissaries? Them's fightin' words 12/15/13
- ...Groups representing military families have mobilized to defend a benefit they have come to cherish over nearly years... "Military families are very concerned," said Candace Wheeler, a military wife and a coalition spokeswoman. "Many of them are feeling that this is a broken promise." ...Advocates for service members and veterans say they will continue to fight any changes to what they say is one of the military's most cherished benefits. "We're prepared to galvanize our members," said Karen Golden, deputy director of military family issues for the Military Officers Association of America. "Military families are watching this very, very closely."
Coalition posts new Capwiz letters to website urging Save Our Benefit members to write their Members of Congress in addition to writing the President. Call to Action Alert to follow:
- Urge Your Representatives To Protect This Critical and Valuable Earned Benefit
For Concerned Citizens
Closing commissaries in the United States would be a terrible betrayal and more evidence of promises made and promises broken to our military families, veterans, and retirees. The pentagon is now considering closing all stateside commissaries. Urge your Representatives to protect this critical and valuable benefit.
ALA/Coalition has second meeting with Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) Quality of Life team to help identify, define, and defend military resale benefits - 12/18/13. Commissioners will hold their next public hearing in San Antonio, Texas on January 6-7, 2014. For more information, visit the MCRMC website schedule of upcoming events at www.mcrmc.gov/index.php/schedule.
Coalition officially welcomes new Valued Associate member:
The Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC) has joined The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits, which now represents nearly 2 million service members – active duty, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, and veterans – and their families.
Troops and their families have become increasingly concerned by ongoing attacks to their earned benefits. The news that the Department of Defense is considering a proposal to close all stateside commissaries set off a firestorm within the military community. Although no final decisions have been made, the official word from the Pentagon is that "all cost-cutting efforts need to be on the table."
"We realize these are tough economic times, and that sequestration and shrinking budgets are forcing the Pentagon to make some drastic decisions, but closing commissaries would be a terrible betrayal and a broken promise to our military community," said Candace Wheeler, Spokesperson for The Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits. "Commissaries are a vital part of military pay and compensation and one of military families' most valued earned benefits," added Wheeler.
"The commissary is a benefit that contributes to quality of life every single day of the year: healthy food at prices much more reasonable than outside the gate,” said Dr. Samuel Toba, Co-Founder MPFC. "This hits the pocketbook of every military family and must be retained for family financial and lifestyle resiliency," added Toba. "The commissary and exchange benefit also extends beyond tangible financial savings and employment opportunities for military families. Commissaries and exchanges serve as unifying bonds, serving as social gathering places and promoting a sense of community amongst military families," stated Toba.
Click here to read more on this valuable earned benefit.
Hampton Roads ALA Golf Tourney: March 5, 2014
join us for the Hampton Roads ALA Golf Tourney at Sewells Point Golf Course in Norfolk, Va., on March 5, 2014.
Click here to register!
Please sign up by Feb. 15, 2014. Field is limited to first 144 to register.
Distilled Spirits Council provides responsible drinking PSA to TV stations
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
In advance of the holiday season, the Distilled Spirits Council is providing a moderation and responsible drinking public service announcement to local television stations around the country. In addition to sending the public service announcement to the stations, a broadcast quality version can also be accessed by local television stations through the National Association of Broadcasters' website.
Underdog against Amazon, Best Buy charges ahead
The New York Times
It was a lonely holiday season last year for David Strasser, an analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott. Of the 25 analysts covering the electronics retailer Best Buy, he was the only one to make a buy recommendation. And the stock kept going down.
Learning the leadership lessons of retail
Retail is as tough a business as any: Competition is fierce, customers are fickle, and an ill-timed storm can crush a critical selling period. It is also a rich source of practical insights for any executive who works with people (in other words, all of us).
More retailers see haggling as a price of doing business
The New York Times
Armed with increasingly sophisticated price-tracking tools on their smartphones and other devices, consumers have become bolder, and they know that they often have the upper hand during a tough season for retailers. Recognizing the new reality, some retailers, desperate for sales and customer loyalty, have begun training their employees in the art of bargaining with customers.
Middle class buying luxury again but at a bargain
Looking to take a bite out of the luxury sector but can't afford the high price tag? Maybe you should consider a nibble, instead. Over the past year, experts said they have begun to see the return of the "aspirational" shopper—someone whose income isn't high enough to make them a true luxury buyer but still has an appetite for designer duds.
Tech companies press for a better retail experience
The New York Times
Looking for a holiday gift? Come on in. Relax. Take a seat in the leather chair. Welcome to today's electronics store, a place that is now a little like entering a playground crossed with a cocktail lounge, where playing with the goodies is paramount and staff members are trained to act like laid-back tour guides.
Congress gives retailers, consumers an early holiday gift
Retail's BIG Blog
It might not have been neatly wrapped, but the Congressional budget deal passed by the House Thursday night was a gift many had on their holiday wish lists. While there's work left to be done in the Senate before the two-year federal budget becomes official, it's a big first step toward ending the uncertainty that's been a big stumbling block on the road to creating more jobs and rebuilding consumer confidence.
NRF: Half of holiday shoppers plan to finish shopping online
Chain Store Age
According to NRF's latest holiday survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, nearly half (49.9 percent) of holiday shoppers indicate they plan to do the remainder of their holiday shopping online, the highest percent in the survey's 11-year history. As of Dec. 9, before the most recent weekend, 32 million holiday shoppers had not even started shopping.
Survey: 4-in-10 consumers to spend less this holiday season
Chain Store Age
Nearly four-in-10 Americans (38 percent) plan to spend less this holiday season than they did last year, while 14 percent plan to spend more this year and 47 percent plan to spend about the same amount as last year.
Large retailers through September had best year since 2010
The Wall Street Journal
Big retailers didn't need to wait until Black Friday to turn a profit. Profits at large retailers were up almost 10 percent through the first nine months of the year, according to recently released Commerce Department data. It's the strongest increase in profits through the first three-quarters of the year since 2010.
Half of holiday shoppers plan to wrap up lists online
In what is turning out to be a holiday season like no other, it is evident that consumers are ready to wrap up their shopping lists before it's too late. According to NRF's latest holiday survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, nearly half (49.9 percent) of holiday shoppers indicate they plan to do the remainder of their holiday shopping online, the highest percent in the survey's 11-year history. As of December 9, before the most recent weekend, 32 million holiday shoppers had not even started shopping.
Survey: Most Americans believe retailers fake holiday discounts
Chain Store Age
The majority of American shoppers think that holiday discounts advertised by retailers are faked, according to a survey conducted by British marketing consultant David Rawlings. Rawlings' Google survey, "Before-Christmas sales — Do you believe the discounts are genuine?," queried 1,500 American Internet users, and found that more than 70 percent of those polled answered "no" to that question.
Dollar General Q3 rises 14 percent ups 2014 expansion to 700 new stores
Chain Store Age
Dollar General delivered some impressive financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2013 as traffic improved and shoppers spent more per transaction on average. The retailer said it plans to open approximately 700 stores in fiscal 2014 and remodel or relocate approximately 525 locations, expanding store selling square footage by 6-7 percent.
Entice holiday shoppers with social media
Fox Small Business
How's your holiday social media marketing campaign going? It's the final stretch of the holiday season, making it more important than ever to attract last-minute shoppers. A recent survey by Crowdtap, a collaborative marketing and social influence platform, revealed that 65 percent of holiday shoppers use social media to find the perfect gift.
Brands need to understand social (customer) service
Social media, particularly Twitter and Facebook, are becoming the go-to place for consumers to have their questions answered, yet companies are still stumbling when using social as a customer-management channel.
How She Leads: Kate Heiny on Target
Target is a Fortune 50 Company that opened its first store in 1962 and now has more than 1,700 stores in 49 states. The company's environmental commitments focus on sustainable living, sustainable products, smart development and efficient operations. Target has set ambitious goals to support sustainable sourcing and was ranked fifth on Greenpeace's sustainable seafood scorecard in 2012. In the following, Heiny elaborates on how one of the country's most important retailers drives sustainability internally and externally.
Deck the halls with mobile commerce
We are all counting the days until Christmas. But for some of us it comes as a last-minute surprise that for Christmas we need to buy presents. Normally, we battle downtown in jammed-full stores for the last offerings. No price is too high to avert the disaster of empty hands on Christmas night. Thanks to the mobile Internet, the nightmare has an end: E-commerce is cool, but m-commerce is fantastic.
Exchange General Counsel receives Magna Stella Award
The General Counsel Forum, a Texas-based professional association of General and In-House Counsel, has awarded the Army & Air Force Exchange Service's General Counsel the 2013 David Weaver Award for the Best Legal Government/Non-Profit Legal Office. The award recognized overall success in business development, finance and credit law, employment law and compliance programs.
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
Coast Guard Sales November 2013
NEXCOM Sales November 2013
Exchange YTD and Monthly Summary's 2012
ALA Executive Briefing (archive link)
AAFES Press release Archive 2010-2012
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Save the dates:
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.
Last-minute holiday gifts at Hawaiian Holiday Festival
The 2013 Hawaiian Holiday Festival began Dec. 12 at the Hickam Commissary parking lot and ran through Dec. 15. Patrons browsed through discounted products offered by the commissary, including authentic Hawaiian products. The commissary" sale.
Get fit at new fitness center
Fort Polk Guardian
Functional fitness is about training and building a body capable of performing real-life activities, whether as a Soldier, office worker or stay-at-home mom. Interest in and demand for functional fitness facilities has grown over the past few years. Previously at Fort Polk, the only Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility space dedicated to functional fitness workouts was a small area in Wheelock Fitness Center.
SMA Chandler thanks civilians for job well done
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III addressed a crowd of Soldiers and civilians Dec. 3, in Conmy Hall on the Fort Myer portion of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, and discussed the Army profession as well as recognized more than a dozen outstanding Soldiers and civilians for their service.
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063