ALA Executive Briefing
Feb. 14, 2014

House votes to repeal COLA caps
Military Times
A measure that would repeal caps on annual increases in military retired pay recently steamed through the House, receiving well over the two-thirds majority required for fast-tracked legislation. The COLA caps are estimated to save $6 billion over 10 years. The House's repeal provision would offset the lost savings by extending sequestration on mandatory Medicare spending by one year, to 2024.More

Reid opts to help out vulnerables restore military pensions
The Hill
Senate Democrats recently cast aside legislation from the House to repeal a controversial cut to military pensions and pressed ahead with a rival plan from their most vulnerable incumbents. The House overwhelmingly approved legislation Tuesday to repeal a $6 billion cut to military pensions, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was opposed to a provision that offsets the cost by extending sequestration for mandatory Medicare spending.More

Bill to restore COLA for military retirees clears Senate hurdle
Military Times
The Senate recently cleared a key procedural hurdle on a bill that would undo the cuts to military retirement pay introduced by the Bipartisan Budget Act. Senators voted unanimously, 94-0, to advance the bill, which, if passed in a final vote this week, would repeal a section of the Ryan-Murray budget deal that reduces annual cost-of-living adjustment increases by 1 percentage point for "working age" retirees, starting in late 2015.More

House Republicans seek to trade debt deal for repeal on military pensions
The New York Times
The House recently voted on a plan to extend the government's borrowing authority into 2015 in exchange for reversing a cut to the pensions of working-age military veterans that Congress approved just two months ago to try to trim the budget deficit.More

At Pentagon, pre-emptive budget strikes
The Hill
Lawmakers are trying to strong-arm the Pentagon into saving favored programs and pet projects ahead of the release of its 2015 budget next month. Projects on the do-not-touch list include the Navy's 11-carrier fleet and the Air Force's A-10 "Warthog" aircraft. Other lawmakers say the Defense Department should avoid cutting the Army National Guard or its Apache helicopters, and that it should fund the combat rescue helicopter program.More

Congressman calls for hearing on moving Marine Corps Times at exchanges
Marine Corps Times
Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., recently called for a congressional oversight hearing on why the Marine Corps abruptly moved Marine Corps Times from newsstands in the front of exchange stores to the back, where the publication is more difficult to find.More

Meet the man who will be slashing the Pentagon's bloated budget
Foreign Policy
After months of feverish speculation about who would succeed Ash Carter as the Pentagon's No. 2, former Marine colonel and current think tank chief Bob Work appears to have won the job and gone into pre-nomination mode, declining invitations to give speeches or take part in other public events — a sure sign in Washington that someone's about to get the nod. More

Wheelchair, shopping cart, handicap
Federal Business Opportunities
This solicitation is being issued as 100 percent total small business set-aside. The solicitation is for wheelchair, shopping cart, handicap to be delivered to Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the Continental United States and overseas locations including Europe. However, for overseas locations, with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, the contractor would only be responsible for preparation for overseas shipment and delivery to the port. A Firm-Fixed Price contract is contemplated.More

Pest control services
Federal Busienss Opportunities
Pest control services for Anchorage and Dyess AFB Commissaries. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2014, and will include four 1-year option periods that may extend performance through Dec. 31, 2018. This Request for Quotation will be issued on or about Nov. 8, 2013 with a tentative closing date of Nov. 29, 2013. This acquisition is being issued as Unrestricted. The North American Industry Classification System Code is 561710 and the business size standard is $10 million. Contractors must be registered with the System for Award Management in order to be eligible for a contract award. More

Lucky Charms celebrates 50 years of magically delicious
Grocery Headquarters
Lucky Charms cereal is commemorating 50 years of magically delicious fun with a 50-day celebration thanking fans young and old for keeping the magic alive all these years. Lucky the leprechaun's celebration of his fans kicked off during music's biggest award night of the year with a tribute ad featuring pop vocal sensation Pentatonix singing his magically delicious jingle. The festivities will culminate on the luckiest day of the year — and Lucky's 50th birthday — St. Patrick's Day. More

Food brands try to wake up sales with new 'energy' appeals
Advertising Age
Are you exhausted? Food marketers think you are. From cereal to snacks and even dog food, brands are pushing energy as a selling point like never before. The newest buzzword is "sustainable energy," meaning foods that keep you full and fueled for longer periods. More

World food prices fall
The Wall Street Journal
World food prices fell in January, marking the first decline in three months as lower prices for grains, sugar and meat outweighed stronger prices for dairy produce, data from the United Nations' Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization showed. "We're seeing lower prices due to abundant supplies, but stronger upturn in demand, such as an increase in the pace of imports from Asia, could limit the decline," said the U.N.'s principal food economist, Abdolreza Abbassian.More

Kroger acquires digital coupon company
Supermarket News
Kroger Co. recently said it had acquired the company that runs its digital coupon program, YOU Technology Brand Services. Kroger's accelerated growth strategy includes targeted capital investments to increase its store base and square footage in both new and existing markets, and to strengthen its connection with customers through the growing digital and mobile channels.More

How indies are getting healthier
Progressive Grocer
Less is more, the saying goes, but when it comes to wellness merchandising, more may be better. Grocers need to take a forward-looking approach to their health and wellness offerings. Among the steps retailers ought to take: good lighting and wood shelving, which convey a healthy image; and keeping natural and organic items shelved along with conventional items, properly signed, rather than in a separate section. More

Social media and customer service
Business 2 Community
No matter what size your business or what product you are selling, there's no doubt that social and digital media is playing some kind of role in your marketing efforts. More

Bypassing Congress on defense cuts
The Pentagon has learned that if it can't go through Congress to get what it wants, sometimes it's best to try going around.More

New Exchange Post is out!
Check out the NEW eVersion of the Exchange Post by clicking here!More

Hampton Roads ALA Golf Tourney — sign up by this Saturday!

Please sign up by February 15. Field is limited to first 144 to register.

Join us for the Hampton Roads ALA Golf Tourney at Sewells Point Golf Course in Norfolk, Va., on March 5.

Hole Sponsorships Welcomed to benefit HRALA's Scholarship Program!

Click here to register!More

Store sales forecast to rise 4.1 percent this year
Media Post
Thanks to a strengthening economy and a more solid employment outlook, consumers are stepping up their spending, leading the National Retail Federation to predict that retail sales will increase 4.1 percent this year.More

J.C. Penney to develop vacant land by headquarters
The Wall Street Journal
J.C. Penney Co. entered into a new partnership to develop the vacant land around its Plano, Texas, headquarters, as the struggling department store operator said it wanted to capitalize on the available asset. The new project, Legacy West, consists of 240 acres, which the company said is prime office and mixed-use development space in the Legacy Business Park. More

US retailers' sales chilled by weather, low consumer confidence
January was a tough end to the most competitive holiday season in years for U.S. retailers. Retailers' sales results showed shoppers continued to pinch pennies, seeking out bargains and paying fewer visits to stores in a month when consumers typically conclude their holiday shopping by redeeming gift cards.More

Implementing EMV chip and PIN cards can be costly, but not difficult
One thing became clear during the Feb. 3 Senate hearings on credit card security, it is that the duty to protect card payment systems falls to everyone in the payment chain. This means that banks and credit card issuers need to provide for up to date security, merchant processors need to be able to handle card payments securely, customers need to have the ability to get secure credit cards, and finally merchants need to have a secure method of accepting payments.More

'Seasonal Factors Impact January Jobs Report'
National Retail Federation
The National Retail Federation recently issued the following statements from NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay and Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz on the January jobs report: "While it is always positive to see an increase in private sector hiring and a decrease in unemployment, it is alarming that employment can't shift into a higher gear," said Shay.More

Report: Target hackers used HVAC-service company's credentials
Chain Store Age
The hackers responsible for the recent Target data breach reportedly gained initial access to the retailer's network using credentials stolen from a heating, ventilation and air conditioning vendor. The hackers, using the vendor's access, were able to break into Target's network and from there were able to compromise a server storing the personal data of 70 million customers, as well as in-store POS systems that allowed access to 40 million credit and debit card numbers.More

Study: US retailers' online sales to hit $50 billion by 2020
Chain Store Age
International sales from U.S. online retailers will jump from $11 billion in 2014 to almost $50 billion by 2020, which would make up 16 percent of the overall U.S. online retail market, according to a new report by OC&C Strategy Consultants.More

Walgreens still evaluating sales of tobacco
Chain Store Age
Responding to the announcement by CVS Caremark that its plans to stop selling tobacco products in its stores, Walgreens stated that the category has been under review at its stores, too.More

Arthur Ortenberg, a Liz Claiborne founder, dies at 87
The New York Times
Arthur Ortenberg, who teamed up with his wife, the designer Liz Claiborne, and a third partner to build a billion-dollar enterprise clothing career women in stylish but casual outfits at moderate prices, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 87. More

Will Apple's iBeacon change the way we shop?
Apple quietly introduced iBeacon last year during the World Wide Developer Conference that served as the launchpad for iOS 7. Sources say while the feature was little more than a label on one of the many screens shown during the keynote, interest was high. Now, nearly a year later, it looks like iBeacon is poised to change the way iPhone owners interact with stores, parks, venues, museums and more.More

Unilever looks to marry in-store sampling with e-commerce
Unilever is trying to take the idea of free product sampling normally seen in store aisles and apply it to ecommerce. For Tresemmé, Nexus, Dove Hair, Clear Dove's Men and Dove's Men, the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based firm is placing samples for those hair care brands in shipments going out to customers for and Beyond The Rack, among other e-commerce players.More

Hobby Lobby to open 70 stores in 2014
Chain Store Age
Hobby Lobby announced it will open 70 stores throughout the United States in 2014, for a total of 625 locations nationwide. More

Nordstrom to close 2 stores
Chain Store Age
Nordstrom announced plans to close it's store in Lloyd Center Mall, Portland, Ore., and its store in Vancouver Mall, Vancouver, Wash. Both locations will close in January 2015. Nordstrom said the two locations haven't performed to the level the company needed them to and "investing in remodels to possibly make them more successful didn't pan out."More

Wal-Mart to spend $500 million on expansion in Canada
The Wall Street Journal
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will invest nearly $500 million Canadian dollars ($451 million U.S. dollars) in its Canadian operations over the next year, a move that signals a continued push by U.S. retailing giants into Canada's key grocery category. The investment will see the retailer's Canadian unit spend more than $376 million to add 35 supercenter stores, which carry everything from groceries to apparel and home décor, and house specialty services like pharmacies and garden centers.More

Retailers to Congress: There's no end in sight for credit card breaches
The Washington Post
A Target executive warned Congress that credit card breaches, such as the one that affected up to 110 million of its customers, are going to become very common and there may be little retailers can do to shield shoppers for now. "The unfortunate reality is that we suffered a breach, and all businesses – and their customers — are facing increasingly sophisticated threats from cyber criminals," said Target chief financial officer John J. Mulligan at a hearing.More

Thawing the health care freeze
Retail's BIG Blog
Well, now he's done it again: Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil has seen his shadow, foretelling at least six more weeks of winter. We should all be so lucky. There is a little bit more of a thaw in the works in health care, of all places. The House Ways and Means Committee voted 23-14 today to approve HR 2575, the Save American Workers Act. More

NRF: Consumers keep budgets in check this Valentine's Day
National Retail Federation
On the heels of a healthy yet modest holiday shopping season, cautious consumers aren't quite ready to splurge on Valentine's Day this year, continuing to keep their budgets in check. According to the National Retail Federation's 2014 Valentine's Day spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 54 percent of Americans will celebrate with their loved ones this year, compared to 60 percent in 2013.More

Nordstrom to relocate Hawaii store
Chain Store Age
Nordstrom, Inc. plans to relocate its full-line store to a new space within Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. The new three-level, approximately 186,000-square-foot store is expected to open spring 2016. More

Sears rolls out new pickup service for online purchases
Chain Store Age
Sears has debuted In-Vehicle Pickup, a new service powered by the chain's Shop Your Way mobile app that enables customers to pick up their online purchases at any Sears store within five minutes of arrival, without ever leaving the car.More

What lies ahead in 2014
This is Retail
Retail is an ever-evolving industry, making new strides toward innovation for the customer every day. Check out the following slideshow to see what retailers are working on in 2014. More

Latest trends in logistics point toward automation
By Nadine Miller
Local and global logistics have become increasingly complex, and the systems needed to handle that complexity have also grown. More and more companies depend on third-party logistics providers to offer the data analysis and warehouse, transportation and financial management systems needed to keep products flowing smoothly from manufacturer to consumer. In 2013, companies implemented more automation in both hardware and software to increase productivity and reduce error rates. The trend toward automation will continue in 2014.More

The world's top 10 most innovative companies in retail
Fast Company
No industry has been more transfigured in the past year than retail. Stores now behave like websites, tracking customers as they browse. American malls have pretty much died (but may be on their way back to life). And in some parts of the country, you can have your milk and eggs home-delivered, along with your new iPod, on the same day. Those who lead the field strike the right balance between physical and digital, experience and affordability, and convenience and quality. More

Retail growth: Why marketplace is drop ship's natural heir
Retail Gazette
Few retailers would argue that the greatest potential for sustained growth in the future is online. But online is tough, with consumers used to Amazon-type customer experiences which mean they expect a vast product choice at a competitive price. Meeting these expectations, while retaining brand values and remaining profitable are the main challenges facing retailers right now.More

Rethink your branding to create crazy love from customers
A company can exist to merely sell stuff and make money. And, certainly, many do. But a special breed of brands that have transcended revenue as a focal point have been transformed into uber-powerful forces. So what do they focus on more than anything else? Emotions. And the business results are nothing short of astonishing.More

2 ways to find good salespeople
By Harry J. Friedman
When you went into business, did you realize that you were also going into the business of hiring? Unfortunately, staff turnover in business — particularly in retail stores — is a never-ending battle. Regardless of industry or your efforts in keeping turnover to a minimum, many people still regard retail as something to do until something better comes along. Certainly, there are many difficulties inherent to the hiring process. But there are some things you can do to eliminate, or at least lessen, some of those difficulties. More

NEXCOM trading partner link

Vendor Community,

NEXCOM is currently working to update and enhance our Vendor Partner Trading processes and procedures. Our nomenclature for this project is "Trading Partner Performance Manual." Our first iteration of this document has been loaded to the "My Navy Exchange" website and can be accessed through the "Vendor" portal. We invite you to please review this working document and provide any feedback or insights as we continue to refine our policies to the mutual benefit of both NEXCOM and our Vendor Partners in servicing our Military Families.

In addition to the aforementioned document, we are developing an "Active Community Portal" in which the Vendor Community may electronically access all documents required for executing/updating the trading process with NEXCOM. We are also working to incorporate an automated compliance solution to be called "Active Intelligence". This solution will be driven by standardized infraction criteria encompassing human, data and invoice EDI identifiable infractions.

The targeted completion date for the Active community Portal is March 2014, with a targeted completion on the Active Intelligence Portal of June 2014.

Myself and Kellie Carter are committed to keeping you informed of our progress, we will appreciate your input. If you have any questions or concerns during this working phase, please direct them to the Program Manager, Kellie Carter - 757-631-4197 /, or myself, Mark Carroll, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Planning & Replenishment Navy Exchange Service Command - Phone: 757-631-4597; Fax: 757-631-4592.

Dear (trading partner),

Nexcom would like to introduce you to our new online Trading Partner Portal. The primary purpose of this portal is to house and maintain all NEXCOM Trading Partner contact information and agreement documents.

We have you listed as a contact for your company and require your assistance in updating your contact information. Please complete the following by April 16, 2014.
  1. Click on the following link: [Click Here]
  2. Verify and assign the correct contact to each of the following business roles.
    [Scroll to the bottom of page to see who else from your company received this communication]
  3. Click Submit at the bottom of the Web form.
  4. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Kellie Carter by email at,or at 757-631-4197.

Deputy director says farewell and 'aloha'
All good things must eventually come to an end. Mick McAndrews knows that as well as anyone. The current deputy director of the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office is retiring after five years at the installation and a total of 30 years of service to the U.S. Navy.More

DOD focuses on healthy, active lifestyle for children
The Bullseye
With the national rate of childhood obesity increasing, the Defense Department wants to ensure children in military families lead healthy and active lifestyles, the Defense Department's director of the office of family policy and children and youth recently said.More

Odierno, Ravens Coach Harbaugh visit troops in southern Afghanistan
U.S. Army
Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, recently visited southern Afghanistan, and met with deployed service members and received Regional Command (South) mission updates. During his stay at Kandahar Airfield, Odierno visited Soldiers of 1st Infantry Division's 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, with Maj. Gen. Paul. J. LaCamera, RC(S) and 4th Infantry Division commanding general. More

Red Cross office opens on post
The Fort Huachuca Scout
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Fort Huachuca's Army Community Services building, Jan. 31, to celebrate the grand opening of the new American Red Cross Southern Arizona Chapter office, specializing in military assistance. The American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces, or SAF network, assists service members and their Families with unforeseen hardships and coping with the military life, for those living in the Southern Arizona area. More