ALA Executive Briefing
Jan. 16, 2015

McCain open to changes in military pay, benefits
The Hill, Kristina Wong
Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., says he is open to changing military pay and benefits for future servicemembers, a move fiercely opposed by military advocacy groups.More

Armed Services chief: No 'appetite' for new round of base closures
The Hill, Martin Matishak
The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee says there is little support on his panel among Republicans or Democrats for a new round of military base closures.More

Analysts: Little chance of new budget deal on Hill
Defense News, Paul McLeary
Several leading defense analysts have little confidence in the ability of Congress to produce another Murray-Ryan type budget deal that would partially stave off the effects of sequestration in the fiscal 2016 budget and beyond.More

Pentagon still pushing to retire A-10 and close bases, Richard Sisk
The Pentagon renewed its commitment Friday to retiring the Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt ground attack aircraft and closing excess military bases in the U.S., setting up another battle with Congress in budget hearings to begin in February.More

Commissaries airlifting produce, dairy to Pacific
Military Times, Karen Jowers
Commissary officials were scheduled to begin airlifting produce, yogurt and other dairy items to stores in the Pacific on Tuesday after delays in shipping led to empty store shelves.More

Veterans jobs bill advances; future is uncertain
Military Times, Leo Shane III
House lawmakers opened the new legislative session by passing a measure billed as both a boost to veterans employment and a chance to roll back part of the president's controversial health care law.More

Top officers take extra hit to pay and benefits
Military Times, Andrew Tilghman
Military compensation is getting a haircut across the board, but Congress singled out general and flag officers for a more extensive trim this year.More

More House Democrats want to limit time at the top
POLITICO, Lauren French and Anna Palmer
A growing faction of House Democrats wants to bring back term limits for the crew of party leaders who sit atop the chamber's most influential committees. More

Smooth sailing or rocky road for military families in 2015
"Happy New Year" could be short lived for the military community. In just a matter of weeks, the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) will release its long awaited report detailing proposals to military pay, retirement, health care, the commissary system and more.More

FRA launches 2015 survey on military, veterans benefits
"As Congress explores ways to cut federal spending, many hard-earned benefits are in the budgetary crosshairs," explains Tom Snee, FRA's National Executive Director. FRA is asking all current and former military personnel and their spouses to share their opinions about the programs they value most. More

New survey of military families reveals most valued programs and services
Digital Journal
A new survey by the Military Family Advisory Network (MFAN) reveals that childcare, health care, employment assistance and commissaries are among the services that are most important to military families. About 41 percent of those who responded to the online study said base amenities, such as commissaries and childcare, are their most valued benefits. About 32 percent said health care was most important. Support from nonprofits and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) services came in third and fourth with about 15 percent each.

What surprised researchers, however, was the way in which benefits are intertwined. Respondents made it clear that the use of one benefit was largely dependent on the use of another. Patrons who use the commissary, for example, are also likely to access the Exchange on the same trip, they said. More

Pest Control Service
Pest Control Service, Mitchel Field Commissary, located at West Road Annex Bldg 84, Garden City, New York, 11530. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of March 1, 2015 through February 28, 2016, and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through February 28, 2020. More

Flights to ease produce, dairy shortages at Pacific commissaries
Stars and Stripes
An emergency fly-in of fresh dairy products, produce and meats will be welcome news at U.S. bases in the Pacific.More

Survey: Base services, health care are military family's top benefits
Base amenities and health care are the two most valuable benefits to military spouses according to data from a new survey released recently.More

Harris Corporation and nLogic team to provide Defense Commissary Agency with network communications services
Harris Corporation and prime contractor nLogic were awarded a contract to provide the Defense Commissary Agency with network infrastructure services for the Department of Defense Commissary system.More

Expert column: Top retail trends in 2015
Progressive Grocer
As deep-pocketed online players, big box retailers and convenience and drug stores ramp up their efforts to steal share of wallet from grocery stores, the most successful grocers will be those that can anticipate impending changes and capitalize on the opportunities they create. Here are five trends to watch over the coming year.More

Tiny Cokes: Less guilt means more money for makers
The Associated Press via ABC News
Americans want to cut back on soda, and they're willing to pay more to do it. With people drinking less soda amid health concerns, Coke and Pepsi are pushing smaller cans and bottles that contain fewer calories and, they say, induce less guilt. That all comes at a price: Those cute little cans can cost more than twice as much per ounce.More

Frozen food segment to pick up steam
Food Business News
After several years of declining sales, the frozen foods segment is expected to climb from $22 billion in 2014 to $23 billion in 2019, said Packaged Facts, a Rockville-based market research firm.More

5 new technologies that may change how you shop
The Washington Post
As more shopping moves online, retailers are looking for ways to step up the in-store experience to make sure it remains compelling and convenient.More

Weis Markets unveils new round of price freezes
Progressive Grocer
As many across the country have braced themselves amid winter's icy chill, Weis Markets is bringing cool comfort to its customers with a new round of product price freezes.More

Food trends cater to youth in 2015
So, what's on your plate for 2015? Some surprising culinary trends will take shape in the new year as America's foodies and young foodies-in-training drive the evolution of the nation's appetite. USA TODAY contacted food and culinary gurus and reviewed some year-end projections by food experts to highlight these top 10 food trends for 2015.More

Bite back at bad cholesterol: Eat an avocado a day
New research finds that eating an avocado per day, as part of an overall diet rich in healthy fats, may help cut the bad kind cholesterol, known as LDL.More

2015 Exchange (AAFES) Impact Workshop

"Elevating the Experience"
March 17-18
Hilton Arlington
Arlington, Texas

Registration is open! Click HERE to register now! For a copy of the preliminary agenda, as well as hotel details, visit our webpage HERE.

The ALA/Exchange Impact Workshop is designed to provide ALA member companies the opportunity to change the future of ALA meetings with your Exchange customers. The new format is exciting, informative and productive, spanning a full two days. The Exchange is taking the lead to make business meetings more interactive with their business customers. You will not want to miss this exclusive to ALA Members meeting with the Exchange leadership in Arlington, Texas. The event is preceded by a day of golf and networking on Monday, March 16, 2015.

Target's next big thing: Lilly Pulitzer
Retailing Today
Target shoppers looking for the next big thing in fashion are in for a splash of color and bold prints from the retailer's next design partner.More

Wet Seal set to close 2/3 of its stores
Wet Seal Inc., the clothing chain that has said there is doubt it can continue operating, is closing about two-thirds of its stores and cutting almost 3,700 jobs after failing to win concessions from landlords. More

Under Armour debuts 'social network for activity'
Advertising Age
Under Armour is nipping at Nike's heels in apparel sales. Now, with its latest product, unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show, the Baltimore company is going after Nike on another front.More

Survey: 70 percent prefer to return/exchange gifts in store versus online
Chain Store Age
Nearly a quarter of consumers said that they are likely to return or exchange at least one of the presents that they received this holiday season. More

J.C. Penney reports strong sales growth
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
J.C. Penney Co. warmed the hearts of investors, reporting stronger-than-expected sales for the holiday period. Its news sent the beleaguered department-store chain's stock soaring 20 percent and provided a positive first indicator for how retailers fared over the year-end shopping bonanza.More

Discount chains emerge as holiday winners as apparel suffers
Discount chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Costco Wholesale Corp. look like the winners from the holiday season. More

Coach to buy shoemaker Stuart Weitzman to expand luxury offerings
Coach Inc. will buy women's luxury footwear company Stuart Weitzman Holdings LLC, as it looks to expand its high-end offerings to better compete with rivals, such as Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. and Kate Spade & Co.More

Apple climbing ranks of 'luxury' brands
Rolls Royce, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and ... Apple? According to social analytics company NetBase's most recent Brand Passion Report, Apple ranks second among top luxury brands in the world, behind only Louis Vuitton and ahead of brands, such as Chanel, Burberry, Hermes and Gucci.More

Federal mediator to help West Coast ports contract dispute
News & Observer
A federal mediator is getting involved in stalled contract talks between West Coast dockworkers and their employers. Political and financial pressure has been building as each side blamed the other for the slow movement of billions of dollars of cargo across the docks at 29 seaports that are a vital trade link with Asia. More

From drug prices to drones, what's ahead for business in 2015
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
The old way of doing business is out after a year of big change for many companies. And 2015 promises to deliver more tests and opportunities for established industries and fast-growing sectors alike. Part one of two on business in the new year. More

Study: In-store pickup does not save US shoppers much time
Major U.S. retailers including Target Corp and Toys 'R Us have begun allowing shoppers to collect online purchases at their brick-and-mortar stores, but a study shows the option often saves little, if any, time over in-store shopping. More

CSP rolls out 2nd annual Convenience Top 101
CSP Business Media begins the rollout of its second annual Convenience Top 101, using its CSPedia business-intelligence tools to calculate and collate a list of the largest convenience-store chains in North America.More

Is it time to raise the federal gas tax?
Despite a steady drumbeat of warnings from federal officials, business leaders and states about the sorry condition of the nation's infrastructure, there was very little momentum and little popular support in 2014 to raise the federal gas tax, which funds its repairs and maintenance. More

Tobacco questions for 2015
There was no shortage of tobacco-related headlines in 2014, from the landmark merger between Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard Tobacco Inc. to the exit of a major drug chain from tobacco business altogether. Not to mention, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally released its proposed deeming regulations for e-vapor products, cigars and pipe tobacco. More

7-Eleven hangs on to top 10 spot in 2015 'Franchise 500'
While remaining in the top 10 — a major accomplishment — 7-Eleven Inc. fell to No. 10 in 2015 from No. 6 in 2014 in Entrepreneur magazine's annual ranking of franchise opportunities, the "Franchise 500."More

9 novel tobacco merchandising ideas
A growing number of C-store retailers are assuming a higher financial stake with their in-store tobacco displays, and the added responsibility is yielding more dynamic units that offer flexibility for an evolving category.More

Kentucky: Military spouses are focus of January hiring program
The Leaf-Chronicle
Army Community Service Employment Readiness Program is holding a Hiring Our Heroes Military Spouse Program event on Jan. 21 and 22 at Cole Park Commons at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.More

Virginia: Health and Fitness Expo returns to Belvoir
Belvoir Eagle
Fort Belvoir, Virginia, community members committed to staying active and fit in 2015 have an opportunity to kick off the new year in the right direction when Graves Fitness Center hosts the 2015 Health and Fitness Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Feb. 12.More

Arizona: CWFC designed to improve employee morale
Aerotech News
There's an organization on post designed to enhance the quality of life for Fort Huachuca, Arizona, federal civilian employees during and outside of duty hours. The Civilian Welfare Fund Council, or CWFC, Fort Huachuca, is a Category IV Non-appropriated Fund Instrumentality with proceeds from concessionaire commissions. Its purpose is to manage the Civilian Welfare Funds, or CWF. These funds provide morale and recreational activities, and services to all federal civilian employees at Fort Huachuca thus enhancing their quality of work-life. More

Michael D. Hughes analyzes US Army moral welfare, recreation
Digital Journal
Michael D. Hughes' genuine love of soldiers, family members and retirees in the U.S. military inspired him to write "United States Army Third Infantry Division Directorate of Morale, Welfare, and Recreation," a book that analyzes the Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation of the Third Infantry Division using gap analysis and subfield standards according to the field of study in public administration. More