ALA Executive Briefing
Mar. 7, 2014

Levin on BRAC: Not going to happen
The Hill
There is not a path forward for Congress to agree to a new round of military base closures, Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., told The Hill. "I just don't think we've seen the value of it, including the last BRAC," said Levin, referring to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC).More

Senator Warner opposes cuts to military commissaries in Hampton Roads
Daily Press
Sen. Mark R. Warner wants to block proposed cuts to commissaries, a popular option for military families in Hampton Roads, because a high-level commission has yet to issue a report on the larger issue of compensation and benefits. Warner and Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., have introduced legislation to restore a 70-percent cut to the commissary budget included in the 2015 Pentagon budget recently introduced.More

DoD pushes forward on pay, benefits cuts
Army Times
Never in the 40-year history of the all-volunteer force has the Pentagon sought to roll back the existing military compensation package for service members. Until now. More

Lawmakers divided on possible 2017 BRAC round
Federal Times
When it comes to a new round of base closures in 2017, lawmakers are split between lukewarm support, vehement opposition and general uncertainty.More

Pentagon, Congress begin budget battle
The Hill
The Pentagon recently unveiled its 2015 budget proposal this week, beginning a contentious fight with Capitol Hill over the military's spending priorities. More

Hagel defends proposed pay and benefit changes
Navy Times
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel recently downplayed the impact of proposed cuts to military pay and benefits in the fiscal 2015 defense budget request, saying the changes still leave troops with "fair compensation" and produce a stronger overall force.More

DoD official: Extra $115 billion does not fund carrier, troops
Defense News
Recently, top U.S. defense officials told Congress that if the Pentagon were allowed to bust its budget caps, it would save one aircraft carrier and tens of thousands of troop billets slated for elimination. But DoD's new spending request — which stays under the cap for 2015 but exceeds the 2016-2019 caps by a total of $115 billion — contains no money for the carrier and extra troops.More

The biggest threat to the Pentagon's budget is entitlement spending
Defense One
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently provided sobering insight into the Department of Defense's fiscal year 2015 budget request. Much of what the secretary shared caused a sharp reaction across the defense community and on Capitol Hill, with options including a reduction in the size of the Army to pre-World War II levels, increased cost-shares from active duty and retired service members for TRICARE, and if sequestration continues in fiscal year 2016, retirement of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington halfway through its expected service life.More

Renewal maintenance support informatica
Federal Business Opportunities
The Defense Commissary Agency issued a delivery order, HQC007-14-F-0003 against an existing GSA schedule, for renewal enterprise maintenance support for DeCA's Informatica PowerCenter8 Advanced Edition software application in accordance FAR Part 8.404, Use of Federal Supply Schedules. This order was issued to IPI GrammTech LTD, a small business concern in the amount of $114,817.00. The period of performance is March 1, 2014 through Feb. 28, 2015 with four 12-month option years covering the period March 1, 2015 - Feb. 28, 2019.More

$165,083 federal contract awarded to Waste Management Collection & Recycling
4-Traders
Waste Management Collection & Recycling Inc. dba Waste Management, Moreno Valley, Calif., won a $165,082.70 federal contract from the Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Lee, Va., for trash removal services. Place of performance will be in Riverside, Calif.More

Reusable grocery bags influence shoppers' choices
Harvard University via PsychCentral
Environmentally friendly canvas grocery bags have a surprising influence over what products people buy, according to researchers from Harvard Business School. Not only do reusable bag shoppers choose more organic and environmentally friendly items, but they also buy more indulgent foods, such as cookies and ice cream, compared to other shoppers.More

Analysts: Food prices to rise 2 to 4 percent this year
The Montgomery Advertiser
Grocery bills are expected to increase this year anywhere from 2 percent to 4 percent, almost doubling the increase in food prices for 2013. Studies and data from U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Labor forecast a 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent overall increase in retail food prices nationwide. The weather and fuel prices are the biggest variables, along with yields and market conditions also significantly impact prices. More

How grocers transform traditional shopping habits with digital
Chief Marketer
A recent Siegel+Gale ranking listed grocery as the sixth simplest industry for global consumers to navigate. However, e-retail giant Amazon, who's been moving in on grocery, was ranked second as the simplest brand to navigate. In the age of the online consumer, brick-and-mortar grocers need to integrate new technology into the traditional shopping experience to compete with their online counterparts. This is easier said than done, as grocers must avoid overcomplicating the shopping experience with distracting technology.More

NPD: Consumers lose interest in nutrition facts labels
Grocery Headquarters
Nutrition Facts labeled appeared on the back of nearly every food and beverage in stores 20 years ago. But interest in reading those labels has seen a steady decline among U.S. households, The NPD Group reports. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is currently proposing updates to the Nutrition Facts label to make it more relevant to today's consumers, but according to NPD's ongoing food and beverage market research, the changes may not maintain consumer's interests in the long run. More

Bright outlook for US food, beverage manufacturers
Supermarket News
The future looks bright for U.S. food and beverage manufacturers as consumer demand increases and input costs decrease, according to a new report issued by BMO Harris Bank. Aaron Goertzen, economist for BMO Capital Markets, said that high and volatile crop prices have been an industry scourge over the last decade. But with crop prices down by at least 20 percent from a year ago, the industry is "ripe for a healthy rebound."More

Cross-cultural approach to retail marketing
By Clarice Brough
The demographic landscape is changing in the United States, and so too in the world of retail. Traditional marketing evolved over decades to engage a number of diverse nationalities. But the number of nationalities comprising Latinos, Asians and other minorities, as well as multiracial Americans is growing and expanding. But before you jump on this marketing bandwagon, let's dig a little deeper. More

Hagel to troops: Proposed cuts to compensation helps ensure readiness
Military Times
A day after announcing the first-ever rollback of housing allowance, a cut to military commissary subsidies and new Tricare fees for military families, Hagel visited two installations in Virginia and met with troops because he wanted to explain to them "face to face, as your Secretary of Defense ... why we made the decisions we made." More

McCain places hold on two Obama defense nominees
The Hill
Sen. John McCain has placed a hold on two of President Barack Obama's nominees for top Pentagon jobs, after he said they gave unsatisfactory answers during their confirmation hearings. McCain placed a hold on Bob Work, Obama's nominee for deputy defense secretary, after he said the littoral combat ship program he had overseen while serving as secretary of the Navy "is on solid ground and is meeting its cost targets." More

Target Q4 profit plummets 46 percent as data breach takes toll
Chain Store Age
Target Corp. saw dramatic year-over-year declines in its net earnings for the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013, as the negative impact of its massive data breach and damages from its Canadian operations took effect. The chain warned that continuing costs related to the breach may affect its profits in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. More

Dollar Tree net income falls on varied sales
Chain Store Age
Net income fell at Dollar Tree Inc. during the fourth quarter and fiscal year 2013, while net sales fell during the quarter and rose during the year. On a year-over-year basis, net income during the fourth quarter declined about 7 percent to $213 million from $228.6 million, and during the full year fell about 4 percent to $596.7 million from $619.3 million.More

Stores encourage mother-daughter shopping with coupons, social platforms
The Wall Street Journal
The mother-daughter shopping trip is expanding into new territory. Moms and their girls follow the same retailers on social media, trade photos of clothes and create joint pin boards of looks they plan to shop for, whether online or in a traditional trip to the mall. Retailers are emailing targeted coupons to mothers and daughters, marketing to them on social-networking sites and launching platforms where family members can share images and opinions.More

SORO 2014: Key Web metrics continue to stay strong
Shop.org Blog
Shop.org's new State of Retailing Online 2014: Key Metrics and Initiatives study reveals that digital retail businesses grew an average of 29 percent in 2013, the result of key investments they made in the customer experience. E-commerce growth reflected in improved key numbers. Developed in partnership with Forrester Research, the study shows that healthy growth is reflected in improvements across several of the following key metrics.More

J. Crew said to be talking with banks about 2014 IPO
Bloomberg
J. Crew Group Inc., the retailer owned by TPG Capital and Leonard Green & Partners LP, is interviewing banks as it weighs an initial public offering in the U.S. later this year, people familiar with the matter said. With 451 stores and about $2.4 billion in annual sales, J. Crew may fetch a valuation of as much as $5 billion, one of the people said, asking not to be identified discussing private information. That's almost twice the $2.64 billion value of J. Crew's buyout by TPG and Leonard Green three years ago. More

Store brands, the (now) welcome option
The Washington Post
Tom Stephens remembers the days well when the career marketeer brought President's Choice products to American grocers from coast to coast. "At that time, the U.S. guys wanted the cheapest stuff they could get," he says, referring to the private labels that earned the term "off brands," which looked "generic and were poor quality." The President's Choice line represents one turning point in the annals of "American Hustle"-era store brands.More

How Stylinity is turning fashion retail into a social experience
Forbes
Marc E. Babej writes, "I recently spoke with Tadd Spering, the CEO of a technology startup that could change how people choose their own clothes – and influence the choices of others. The company has recently launched a partnership with The Limited, and is in advanced talks with several other major fashion retailers."More

Inside Gap's new $10 wage: Stores to pay more as retail jobs get high tech
Forbes
Gap Inc. recently stunned retail watchers and the general public alike by announcing a salary hike for employees across their five store chains. By 2015, the minimum hourly wage for all sales associates will be $10. For now, Gap is ahead of the pack — but its move puts pressure on high-profile retailers like Wal-Mart, who appeared to be mulling a wage increase of their own in the days following the San Francisco clothier's announcement but later denied those reports.More

Retailers embracing new methods of 'omnichannel recruiting'
Retail's BIG Blog
You've heard of omnichannel retailing – now meet the "omnichannel recruiter." Much as retailers are working to create a seamless shopping experience from store to computer to smartphone, retail recruiters are now using the full range of digital channels to fill job openings. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 350,000 job openings in the retail industry as of December 2013. To fulfill the need for talent, retail recruiters have taken to online recruiting, exploring new and exciting ways to connect with the modern-day job seeker.More

Retail discounting can be hard to end, risking profit
Investors
Hungry for a bigger share of a limited spending pie, retailers face a tough choice: Keep prices low to boost sales at the expense of profit margins or get rid of discounted promotions and risk losing market share to rivals. The holiday season came at the expense of profit. More

Wal-Mart's Fiscal 2014 global ecommerce sales top $10 billion
Multichannel Merchant
Wall Street wasn't wowed when Wal-Mart announced its consolidated net sales for fiscal year 2014 grew just 1.6 percent year-over-year. But the retailer was able to hang its hat on its global ecommerce sales, which CEO Doug McMillon said grew 30 percent and surpassed $10 billion.More

More mobile shoppers like convenience of websites over apps
MediaPost
Consumers use both apps and mobile websites to shop, but more find using the mobile browser to be convenient. In the continuing debate of apps vs. mobile websites for shopping, a new study finds consumers split, with only a negligible difference between the two.More

Getting a jump on spring holidays: A guide for retailers
Shop.org Blog
Spring holidays such as Easter, Mother's Day and Father's Day are important shopping periods for many retailers. In 2013, NRF surveys conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics found that U.S. consumers spent an estimated $17.2 billion for Easter, $20.7 billion for Mother's Day, and $13.3 billion on Father's Day. While smaller than back-to-school or the winter holidays, all three represent strong reasons to engage with customers as well as great opportunities to test drive new website features and functions retailers are investing in this year.More

What happens when a department store website isn't terrible?
Bloomberg Businessweek
Nordstrom's bid to be the most tech-savvy department store is paying off—and helping to replace slipping brick-and-mortar sales. The Seattle-based company was forced to cut prices more than it would have liked during the holidays and struggled to get shoppers through the doors. The company's slick Web store, however, saved the day, garnering a 30 percent boost in business from a year earlier.More

Teens press play on YouTube
eMarketer
Teens may not have plans to ditch Facebook any time soon, but recent polling found that they're spending more time with YouTube than the social network. In a November 2013 study by The Intelligence Group, nearly three-quarters of 14- to 18-year-olds in the U.S. said they used YouTube "frequently," compared with 60 percent who said the same for Facebook. More

Try before you buy at online retailers
The Associated Press
Too busy to make it to the store? Online retailers are sending products home for you to try before you buy. All customers need is a credit card, though they won't be charged unless the items are not returned on time. More

Amazon tempts the anti-Amazons
The Wall Street Journal
Amazon.com Inc. is in talks to bring listings for J. Crew khakis, Ralph Lauren polo shirts and Lord & Taylor suits to its site, according to people familiar with the talks. The discussions, which seek to win over retailers that have largely shunned the online marketplace, involve about 10 well-known retailers, these people said, including Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and Neiman Marcus Group Inc.More

How e-commerce sparked a POS evolution
Shop.org Blog
From same-day fulfillment to sites that are optimized for mobile shopping, the influence of e-commerce and m-commerce is undeniable. But what many consumers don't see is how different point-of-sale systems in the store, on desktops and on mobile devices act on the back-end. This innovation of retail technology has changed the industry for the better – but often at the cost of displaying an inconsistent customer experience across these channels.More

Revenge of bricks and mortar
STORES
"T he old way of shopping can peacefully co-exist with the new," insists Nadia Shouraboura. "It's about giving shoppers options." Shouraboura, who honed her retail chops at Amazon, is CEO of Hointer, a one-of-a-kind store in Seattle that brings the technology consumers love into a traditional store.More

Demographic shifts contribute to the changing face of retail
NPR
So far this year, retail chains have announced some heavy cuts. J.C. Penney said it would. Macy's said it would. Sears will close its flagship Chicago store in April. That's creating a glut of excess space. But that's just one of several forces changing the face of retail.More

Interviews with retail store managers
This is Retail
Store leaders have a huge responsibility running the retail business and helping their associates grow in their careers. Meet eight store leaders who combined have over 170 years of experience and manage over 715 associates. Several of them oversee stores that garner annual sales of over $8 million. Read their stories and find out why they have such a passion for their job, pride for their team, and are dedicated members of their community. And they seem to have a lot of fun doing it.More

Sam's Club tests online subscription service as threat from Amazon grows
The Wall Street Journal
Sam's Club is quietly testing a new subscription service that allows customers to order items like diapers and printer cartridges online, a sign that Web retailers are posing a threat in areas of retail that were once considered relatively safe. More

Sony slashing US presence by closing 20 stores, cutting 1,000 jobs
ZDNet
Sony warned earlier this month about significant and serious reorganization changes coming this year, and now they're becoming a reality for many employees in the United States. The consumer tech giant recently announced that it will be shuttering 20 stores. This in turn will result in approximately 1,000 layoffs at these locations nationwide.More

Best Buy laying off about 2,000 managers across the country
Pioneer Press
Best Buy plans to lay off roughly 2,000 managers as the electronics retailer continues to cut costs, according to sources at the company's Richfield headquarters. Although no store closings are planned, the electronics retailer "has begun laying off thousands of midlevel managers nationwide as it girds for more competition," the New York Post reported. More

Stop discounting: 5 easy tips to sell at a premium price
By Marc Wayshak
Have you ever discounted your price in order to close a deal? Have you ever touted lower prices in order to get a foot in the door? Then you are in the vast majority of companies that view discounting as a necessary evil. However, discounting not only destroys your sale's profitability, but it also lowers your value in the eyes of the customer. It is time to stop the discounting and enter into the world of premium value. Here are five easy tips to help you sell at a premium price.More

Burger King adds Satisfries to kids' meals
Advertising Age
Just on the heels of children's nutrition and obesity making headlines, Burger King is including Satisfries in kids meals. Satisfries, introduced in September, have about 20 percent fewer calories and 25 percent less fat than Burger King's regular French fries. The meals will now include Satisfries automatically, along with apple slices, choice of cheeseburger, hamburger, four-piece chicken nuggets or six-piece chicken nuggets and a choice of drink. More

Wal-Mart isn't going after Mom & Pop stores, but is focused on these retailers instead
Yahoo News
Having conquered the world of big box discount retail Wal-Mart has set its sights on taking over dollar stores. It's good news for consumers but not even execution is likely to move the needle for long suffering shareholders. What makes the opportunity in smaller stores is the rapid growth of dollar stores. While Wal-Mart has been running to stand still over the chains like Family Dollar, Dollar General and Dollar Tree have been growing like crazy and rewarding shareholders for years.More

Coupon trends of 2013: Like a box of chocolates
Retail Customer Experience
In 2013, the couponing strategies and tactics of individual marketers at retail and consumer packaged goods companies had more variety than a box of chocolates, producing different results across product categories, companies and retail channels. With so much diversity among individual marketers, "you never know what you're gonna get" at the total market level. But, NCH's 2013 Year-End Topline Coupon Facts show that these diverse approaches to marketing with coupons came together to yield an overall increase in the distribution quantity and higher average values.More

High-tech services take all the work out of shopping
NY Daily News
Shop till you drop? It's more like drop the "shop" entirely. Businesses are moving toward a new model: Sending out orders before you even place them. The move comes as customer approval for online shops dropped 4.9 percent and hit a 12-year low, according to a recent survey. So it's no wonder retailers are charging toward speculative shopping, with automatic reordering apps. Once you sign up, you'll have easy access to discounts, which may even be automatically applied.More

New item launch plan (Exchange)


Dear Vendors/Brokers,

New items are the key drivers for category growth and increasing sales. In a collaborative effort to excite and effectively market new items to our customers we have developed a new item multi-channel marketing package. The menu of marketing options are valuable opportunities to communicate the impactful new items to customers. Impact new item launches in which we use speed to market strategy and planogram resets are where we need to implement multi-channel marketing. Each impact new item launch and planogram reset we are requesting your support on this new initiative.

Please work directly with your buyers to schedule multi-channel marketing on the next new items. We are confident this additional marketing and customer experiences through samplings in store will produce incremental sales growth.

Thank you for your continuing support,

David H. Arens
Divisional Merchandise Manager Retail Food
Sales Directorate
214-312-3215
arensd@aafes.com More

AAFES Homeward Bound Program

Click here to view info on the AAFES Homeward Bound Program!More

Wage hike's impact on DoD far from clear
Army Times
A 39 percent increase in the minimum wage for federal contract workers will be good news for the many military spouses and veterans who work for these contractors when it takes effect next January. But defense and service officials are still far from sorting out other possible effects on military installations — to include prices of products in on-base retail activities and funding for morale, welfare and recreation programs. More

Military's push to discourage tobacco use stumbles amid cheap cigarettes
The Kansas City Star via BusinessMirror
Soldiers, sailors or airmen looking for the cheapest smokes need go no further than the retail exchanges on their own bases. A pack of Marlboro Reds averaged $5.49 at military retail exchanges last year — 84 cents less on average than what the Wal-Mart stores nearest to the bases were charging, a new national study finds. More

Meet Newtec Dialog, the platform that embraces change
Bloomberg Businessweek
Satellite communications specialist Newtec marks March 2014 as the launch of Newtec Dialog, a scalable and flexible multiservice platform which allows operators to build and adapt their infrastructure easily as their business and the satellite market grows and changes. The Newtec Dialog platform can be used to address the consumer and enterprise VSAT, broadcast, cellular backhaul and trunking, as well as government and defense markets.More

Carl Vinson receives Ship's Store Retail and Service Excellence Award
noodls
USS Carl Vinson's (CVN 70) supply department's S-3 division received the Ship's Store Retail and Service Excellence Award Feb. 24. Rear Adm. (Ret.) Robert J. Bianchi CEO of the Navy Exchange Service Command awarded Carl Vinson for their contributions toward improving the quality of life for the ship's crew and exemplary performance. More