ALA Executive Briefing
Mar. 16, 2012

Budget feud erupts again
The Wall Street Journal
Republicans are likely to unveil a budget plan that will cut 2013 federal spending below the level the two parties negotiated last August, prompting Democrats to complain that they are reneging on the agreement. GOP leaders respond that the figure, reached after tough talks and sacrifices by both sides, always was intended as an upper limit, not an ironclad amount.More

GOP Leader: Obama must back off military cuts
ABC News
The Obama administration should retreat from billions of dollars in "deeply damaging" defense cuts and begin investing in a new generation of tanks, planes and ships as the nation confronts danger around the globe, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said. With much of the country's armament dating to the Reagan era and a decade-long war in Afghanistan, Congress must "get our forces the tools they need to win the current war and deter future wars," said Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif.More

Looming defense cuts prompt GOP shift
Politico
House Republicans leaders hope to use this spring's budget resolution to set in motion a novel deficit-reduction bill designed to substitute for the nearly $110 billion in automatic spending cuts due to take effect in January. At this stage, the goal is not to match the full $1.2 trillion in 10-year savings ordered by the Budget Control Act last summer. Instead, the primary focus is on the first round in 2013, half of which — about $54.7 billion — would come from national defense spending. More

Senate rejects pay freeze extension
The Washington Post
The Senate rejected a measure March 13 that would have extended a pay freeze for federal employees for another year. By a vote of 51 to 47, the chamber turned down an amendment to a highway funding bill introduced by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., that would have extended the freeze through January 2014 to fund energy projects, an adoption tax credit and tax deductions for college expenses and for state and local property taxes.More

US Pacific Command in new hands
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Adm. Robert F. Willard, the "dean" of U.S. combatant commanders, relinquished control of U.S. Pacific Command at Camp Smith on March 9, amid praise from the nation's top military leaders for the job he's done over the past 2 1/2 years.More

Marine general picked to be Panetta assistant
UT San Diego
The Marine Corps general in charge of the 57,000-Marine force based at Camp Pendleton has been nominated to serve as senior military assistant to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Lt. Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, a veteran of the early days of the post-9/11 Afghanistan War, will likely change jobs as early as this summer. He has served as commanding general of Camp Pendleton's 1st Marine Expeditionary Force since October 2010. More

Defense Health Agency: Next step to curb medical costs
Tacoma News Tribune
Defense officials have asked Congress to approve a new governance structure for the military health care system that, like higher Tricare fees, would help to curb what, for a decade, have been runaway medical costs, officials explained. The centerpiece of the plan is to elevate Tricare Management Activity to a more powerful Defense Health Agency, with new authorities to use more effectively the military's direct care system and to manage more carefully purchased care through Tricare support contractors.More

More good employment news for veterans
Stars and Stripes
The unemployment rate for recent veterans dropped to 7.6 percent in February, the lowest it has been since September 2008 and a possible sign of success for high-profile efforts to find veterans jobs.More

Air Force future involves 'shaping' not downsizing
Stars and Stripes via Current Mil-Tech News
The U.S. Air Force's top enlisted leader reassured airmen in Europe on March 14 that despite the Pentagon's current fiscal constraints, the service would not see the level of downsizing that occurred about five years ago, when the Air Force began reducing its force by more than 40,000. "We're not downsizing. We've done that. We're shaping the force," Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy told thousands of airmen packed into an aircraft hangar at Ramstein Air Base during an all-hands call.More

Guard makes some headway in 2013 budget battle
Air Force Times
The Air Force is finalizing its response to an alternate plan to its proposed cuts, one that has the service reconsidering some of its more controversial moves from the service's fiscal 2013 budget proposal, top Air Force officials recently told lawmakers.More

Local bases escape brunt of Marine Corps cuts
UT San Diego
The Marine Corps plans to cut its active-duty ranks by about 20,000 in the next five years, because of the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq, the rapid drawdown underway in Afghanistan and national budget strains. But the impact on Marine bases in San Diego County will be minimal, according to details recently released and local Marine Corps representatives. East Coast installations will be hardest hit as the Marines downsize by about 10 percent, from 202,100 to 182,100.More

Marines to cut 4 battalions, 12 air squadrons
Reuters
The Marine Corps said on March 14 it would cut four infantry battalions and 12 flying squadrons over the next five years as it shrinks by 20,000 personnel to meet budget constraints and peacetime needs after more than a decade of war.More

Food fight! Stores, producers, consumers battle over high food prices
Time
Here's a news flash that won't be remotely surprising if you're responsible for grocery shopping in your house: The cost of food has been rising. While some are predicting that food prices will plateau or even fall, it appears as if increased regulation and production costs will continue to mean higher food prices for wholesalers, and these higher costs will inevitably be passed on to consumers. More

Savings bonds retailers, bloggers and consumers
Supermarket News
The Farmer family in Dallas has made coupon blogging a family affair. Fifty-year-old mom Diane's blog, groceryshopforfree.com, has become so successful that two other members of her family are now running spinoffs. What's more, shoppers get her help for free. Farmer does not charge for access to the coupon database or anything else. She makes money from selling ad space to companies ranging from e-coupon providers like savingstar.com to manufacturers like Kellogg and Gevalia. To be sure, her site is not for extreme couponers. Rather, she teaches people how to realistically slash their store bills.More

Sprouts merging with Sunflower
Gourmet Retailer
Sprouts Farmers Market and Sunflower Farmers Market have agreed to merge — a move that will bring together 139 stores and 10,000 employees under the Sprouts banner by the end of the year. Expected to be finalized during the second quarter of 2012, the merger of the Phoenix-based independent natural food store chains expands Sprouts' geographic footprint to Nevada, Utah, New Mexico and Oklahoma with Sunflower's 35 stores and further extends its presence in California, Arizona, Colorado and Texas. Overall, the combined company — which plans to open up to 13 new stores this year — will be a prominent player in the Western U.S. grocery market, with projected 2012 annual revenues approaching $2 billion.More

BJ's offering sustainable seafood
Progressive Grocer
BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. is implementing a sustainable seafood policy that will ensure that all seafood products sold in its locations come from seafood suppliers known to be sustainable or on track to meet sustainability standards by 2014. Together with such nonprofit organizations as Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, the Marine Stewardship Council and the Global Aquaculture Alliance, the Westborough, Mass.-based company is moving to safeguard the ocean’s natural resources while still providing consumers high-quality fish and seafood.More

Online grocery shopping lets consumers avoid the checkout line
The Point of Sale News
Proving that no sector of the retail market is safe from the online shopping revolution, it is now possible for the humble hometown grocery store to become digitized and available on your smartphone, tablet or computer. Just think: no more long checkout lines, counting the number of items to see if you qualify for the Express Lane, forgetting your grocery list at home or carrying heavy bags up your front steps. Online grocery shopping is dramatically changing the consumer's relationship with the food market and making a service that may have once felt luxurious into an everyday convenience.More

Target remodels to boost fresh offerings
The Packer
Starting March 25, more than 100 remodeled Target general merchandise stores will devote about 10,000 square feet each to fresh foods, including produce. By the end of the year, another 230 will offer the new layout, the company announced March 8. About 900 stores of Minneapolis-based Target already offer it.More

Simple and easy ways to save on food
KNXV-TV
VideoBrief Seems as though every time you go grocery shopping that bill keeps on going up and up, but there are many ways you can save. One is using coupons and watching for items when they go on sale. Another is to stop paying for convenience.More

15 ways supermarkets trick you into spending more money
Business Insider
We'll start with the shopping cart. This 1938 invention was designed to let customers make larger purchases more easily.More

Army commander in South Korea bans alcohol sales after 9 pm
Stars and Stripes
Troops will no longer be able to buy alcohol after 9 p.m. at two Yongsan shoppettes under a new policy that went into effect March 15. The policy promotes the health and welfare of the military community and is meant to standardize the hours for alcohol sales for Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities in Area II, which covers the greater Seoul area, according to a statement issued March 12 by U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan commander Col. William Huber.More

Rise in retail sales points to healthy consumer
Reuters
U.S. retail sales posted their largest gain in five months in February, with Americans feeling confident enough to buy more cars and other goods even as they paid more for gasoline.More

Mild winter boosts Dallas sales, but election anxiety looms
Women's Wear Daily
An exceptionally mild winter has given rise to strong spring business for local retailers, especially given the bright fashion palette that is particularly popular. (Subscription required.)More

Retailers add gadgets for shoppers at ease with technology
The New York Times
For a generation of shoppers raised on Google and e-commerce, the answer to "Can I help you?" is increasingly a firm "no," even at retailers like Nordstrom that have built their reputations around customer service. But instead of getting defensive, some stores and brands are embracing the change by creating new personal touches that feature gadgets rather than a doting sales staff.More

Small businesses lag on sustainability: What to do about it
Small Business Trends
All the recent headlines about corporate sustainability initiatives are encouraging: Fortune 500 companies are embracing environmental sustainability like never before, investing millions of dollars in greener operations and making sustainability a key part of their business strategy. Great news. But when you look at the landscape of small businesses across the country, sustainability isn't nearly as prevalent as it seems in the corporate world. More

Stores smarten up amid spam flood
The Wall Street Journal
Retailers have started to wear out their welcome in customers' email inboxes, forcing stores to rethink their spam strategies. Last year, the nation's top 100 retailers by e-commerce revenue sent recipients an average of 177 emails apiece, up 87 percent from 2007, according to research by marketing-technology company Responsys Inc. Some of the most aggressive emailers — including Neiman Marcus Group Inc. — sent each recipient more than 500 emails a piece in 2011, said Responsys.More

IDC raises 2012 forecast for tablets, thanks to demand from iPad, competition from Kindle
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Thanks to strong demand for Apple's iPad and competing devices such as Amazon's Kindle Fire, worldwide shipments of tablet computers are likely to grow faster than expected this year, according to a newly revised forecast from a leading market-research group.More

Facebook touts success in revamped pages for brands
Reuters
Facebook's efforts to make its social network a friendlier place for businesses and popular brands are off to a strong start, the company said. Eight million brands, from carmakers to rock bands, switched to Facebook's new Web page format 10 days after the revamped pages were introduced at a splashy launch event in New York last month, according to Facebook.More

Gen Y shoppers want to share, boomers to save
MarketingDaily via MediaPost News
No matter how old a person is, getting a great deal on a good product is nice. But a new survey from Brodeur Partners finds that when Gen Y goes shopping, it is expecting an entirely different experience than are Baby Boomers.More

Consumers: Gas prices must come down
USA Today
An overwhelming number of consumers — 85 percent — say President Barack Obama and Congress should take "immediate" action to keep a lid on prices. After nearly four weeks of daily price increases, regular gasoline averages $3.76 a gallon nationwide.More

More self-checkout lanes coming to Wal-Mart, Sam's Club
Fox Business
In an effort to lower costs and prices, Wal-Mart and Sam's Club plan to add more self-checkout lanes. More self-checkout lanes indicate less need for cashiers, saving Wal-Mart millions of dollars. Wal-Mart experienced only a slight increase in fourth-quarter profit, but did not reach expectations.More

American Eagle expects margins to improve
Reuters
Teen clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc said the spring quarter started on a strong note and its margins will benefit from lower markdowns and costs as the year progresses, sending its shares up 5 percent.More

Pepsi counts on 'Next' to lure back lost drinkers
Reuters
PepsiCo Inc is rolling out the "Next" version of its flagship cola brand in the United States later this month in an effort to court drinkers who have given up on cola, as it seeks to win back lost share in a shrinking market.More

What Siri means for the future of mobile shopping
eMarketer
Even while Siri is in the hands of relatively few consumers, Apple's digital assistant looks to have serious potential to change how people use their smartphones, mostly by streamlining the fast-growing smartphone shopping experience both in, near and out of stores. More

Exchange shoppers get satisfaction
F. E. Warren Air Force Base
At 116 years of age, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service may not have "moves like Jagger," but its shoppers are getting plenty of satisfaction according to a recent American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. The ACSI was developed to provide information on satisfaction with the quality of products and services available to consumers. In the latest survey, the Exchange scored higher than ever before as its operations equaled the industry of excellence.More

NEXs accept manufacturers' coupons
DCMilitary.com
Customers know they can save money every day by shopping their Navy Exchange. In addition to the average 23 percent savings and no sales tax, customers can also save money by using manufacturers' cents off coupons on their NEX purchases. More

Exchange Council Action Brief




PROGRAM: NEXCOM TBD

PROGRAM ESSENTIALS: Event and promotional marketing opportunity for ALA Members to impact three holiday promotional periods at Tier 1 accounts. ALA members can support the cause through special promotions, events, celebrity appearances, product demonstrations and any additional marketing support. NEXCOM will promote vendor activity and in-store branding efforts. Each location will support the event with a 20,000-square-foot tent in the parking lot.

TIMELINE: Tent Sales to be held Memorial Day May 25-28, Independence Day June 29 to July 4, Labor Day Weekends Aug 31 to Sept 3.

LOCATION(S): Norfolk, San Diego and Pearl Harbor

PROMOTION SUBMITTAL: All program submissions for each event need to be submitted to Bob Ellis at bob@ala-national.org by March 25 for the Memorial Day Program. Offers should be for current "in line" sku's carried by NEXCOM, which are not currently being advertised in the Memorial Day, Independence Day or Labor Day tabloids. Offers must be for a minimum of 15 percent off cost to be billed back as a sell thru credit. Please contact Bob for the promotional form. Offers should be submitted directly to Bob Ellis at ALA who will submit to NEXCOM Senior Mgmt. It is very important you do not contact NEXCOM Buyers, but go thru Bob for these NEXCOM tent sale promotions. Due to time constraints, the Pearl Memorial Day event will be limited to product already in stock at Pearl or available from DSD.

ALA PROJECT LEAD: Cory Belkov, belkovc@wattspohn.com

SERVICE PROJECT LEAD: Dan Desser, VP Marketing Communication

ALA ACTION SUPPORT: POS will be developed to support brand awareness and the ALA.

NOTE:
Be the 1st in your company to know
The Exchange Council has over 600 members receiving a personal broadcast on a weekly basis just like the one above. Do you want to be included? Email: Bellis@ala-national.org and put ADD EC in the subject line. This is an opt in/out program and you can receive instant Breaking News and all service exchange updates as they happen.More

Installation Management Command to welcome new Command Sgt. Major
U.S. Army
Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Rice will join the U.S. Army Installation Management Command as the highest-ranking noncommissioned officer Friday, March 9, in a ceremony at Fort Sam Houston. Rice has served the Army since 1981, most recently as command sergeant major for XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg. He will be assuming responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Donald Felt, who has served as the interim command sergeant major for IMCOM since November 2011. Felt will continue to serve as command sergeant major for the IMCOM Central region.More

White House pays tribute to Iraq War veterans, families
U.S. Army
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama hosted a White House tribute to Iraq War veterans and their families on Feb. 29, to honor them for their service, sacrifice and commitment to nation. Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with senior officials from all branches of service joined the president and the first lady at an event dubbed "A Nation's Gratitude: Honoring Those Who Served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn."More

Crossflow officers reflect on their experiences
Newsroom America
Three officers who crossflowed into undermanned career fields last year reflect on the challenges and successes they have experienced so far, and offer some insight for those considering it this year. The nonrated line officer crossflow program was implemented to help balance the force. While officers have always been able to crossflow into other career fields, last year the Air Force formalized the procedure, and 73 officers crossflowed into such fields as intelligence and public affairs. This year, volunteers from overmanned fields can apply for the program through March 16. More

NY Bass Chapter Federation to host Take A Soldier Fishing April 28
Fishing World
The NY BASS Chapter Federation will host their fourth annual Take a Soldier Fishing event on Oneida Lake in Brewerton launching out of Oneida Shores Park on April 28. The event pairs two soldiers with a volunteer boater for a day's free fishing on the lake. Boaters provide their assigned Soldiers a rod and reel, tackle and life vest for the day. The group fishes from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for anything that bites and they're allowed to weigh-in one fish for a big fish prize in 1 of 5 categories, Drum/Sheephead, Common Carp, Bowfin, Rock Bass/ Perch and White Bass.More