ALA Executive Briefing
Mar. 29, 2013

As qualified men dwindle, military looks for a few good women
AudioBriefWhen the Pentagon said earlier this year that it would open ground combat jobs to women, it was cast in terms of giving women equal opportunities in the workplace — the military workplace. But the move has practical considerations, too. The military needs qualified people to fill its ranks, and it's increasingly harder to find them among men.More

Senate passes $3.7 trillion budget, setting up contentious negotiations
The New York Times
After an all-night debate that ended just before 5 a.m., the Senate recently adopted its first budget in four years, a $3.7 trillion blueprint for 2014 that would provide a fast track for passage of tax increases, trim spending modestly and leave the government still deeply in the red a decade from now.More

US hails request to start work on successor base
Japan Times via Early Bird
Washington has welcomed Tokyo's formal request to Okinawa for permission to provide landfill for the U.S. Futenma replacement base, calling it "a key milestone" after years of tough bilateral negotiations. "We welcomed the government of Japan's submission of the landfill permit request to the Okinawa Prefectural Government today," said Pentagon press secretary George Little in a recent statement.More

Air Force sets policy for expected furloughs
The Washington Post
Air Force policy on the expected furloughs of civilian employees allows for some discretion over who would be affected, but such exceptions would be rare and would have to be approved at high levels.More

Lawn maintenance services
Federal Business Opportunities
Lawn Maintenance Service at Fort Worth Commissary in Texas. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of June 1, 2013, through May 31, 2014, and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through May 31, 2018. This Request for Quote will be issued on or about April 1, 2013, with a tentative closing date of April 16, 2013. This RFQ will be available on under ODA (Other Defense Agencies). This acquisition is being issued on a 100 percent Small Business Set-Aside.More

Fresh, shell-protected eggs
Federal Business Opportunities
Contractor is to furnish fresh, shell-protected eggs for commissaries located in the East and Central Areas for the Defense Commissary Agency. The commissaries require various quantities of jumbo, extra large, large, medium, fresh, shell-protected eggs in white and brown. For the purpose of this solicitation, the 67 commissaries in these regions are grouped geographically into 10 groups. More

The list of government agencies that can get your data under CISPA
One of the key complaints about CISPA is the fact that it does absolutely nothing to make sure any data of yours that is shared with the government by third parties is sent narrowly to folks working to protect us from cyber-security threats. Instead, the information can be shared with any agency of the government, so long as they can claim, vaguely, that it's being used for "cyber-security purposes." But, as the EFF points out, without any limitations on who in the government can see your data, every government agency can see your data. They've even put together a helpful "list." More

Commissaries change furlough days to Mondays
Marine Corps Times
Commissaries will close on Mondays if furloughs are required for DoD civilian employees because of sequestration, according to an agreement negotiated between commissary officials and an employees' union, the American Federation of Government Employees Council 172, obtained by Military Times. That's a change from the previous plan to close the stores on Wednesdays during the furlough period, as stated in a Feb. 21 email to all commissary employees from Defense Commissary Agency director Joseph Jeu. DeCA headquarters will also be closed on Mondays.More

3 ways to change meat department culture
Supermarket News
What's the point of investing in a full-service meat case if customers don't feel comfortable talking to your butchers? This year's Power of Meat study, published by the Food Marketing Institute and American Meat Institute, found that only 5 percent of customers go to their supermarket butcher when they need help cooking a new meat cut or product. That's nobody, really. So, who are customers going to for help with their meat cooking?More

FMI, NGA back legislation shielding grocers from labeling law
Progressive Grocer
Both the Food Marketing Institute and the National Grocers Association offered their support for legislation written to ensure the proposed Menu Labeling Law applies solely to restaurants and not to food retailers. According to the trade groups, the restaurant menu labeling provision, enacted as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was originally intended to provide a uniform standard for chain restaurants with 20 or more locations in order to preempt the various state and local menu labeling laws.More

Study: Too much salt linked to 2.3 million yearly deaths worldwide
CBS News
Eating too much salt lead to the deaths of 2.3 million people across the world in just one year, new research says. Sixty percent of cardiovascular deaths linked to salt intake occurred in men, and 40 percent occurred in women, the study showed. Heart attacks were responsible for more than 40 percent of the deaths, strokes were behind another 40 percent and other types of heart disease accounted for the rest.More

'Active listening' is a key best practice
Progressive grocer
For grocery retailers, customer service reputation is strengthened by maintaining an everyday practice for listening and responding to shoppers' concerns, feedback and praise, according to research from the National Grocers Association and the Center for Advancing Retail & Technology Innovation Center. Through a series of structured interviews, grocery store managers provided key insights as to how they successfully track and respond to customer feedback using modern tools. The goal was to identify successful practices adaptable across their own organizations and by other food retailers.More

Pentagon delays civilian furloughs by 2 weeks
The Defense Department has delayed the 22-day furloughs it had ordered for its civilian workforce by two weeks following Congress' passage of the continuing resolution that includes a Pentagon appropriations bill. Leaders had made plans to furlough civilian employees for a total of 22-days between April 25 to Sept. 21.More

Service workers at base at risk of cut hours, layoffs
Springfield News-Sun
Hundreds of civilian employees at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base dubbed "non-appropriated funded" workers are exempt from furloughs that could affect 13,000 other civilian employees on the base, but they may not be safe from a reduction in work hours or layoffs, one supervisor said. More

Commissary asks for patience during staff shortage
Fort Gordon Signal
The head of Fort Gordon's commissary says a little planning and a little patience will help customers weather the staff shortages now creating longer waits for shoppers. John Siddell, Fort Gordon commissary director, says a hiring freeze has left his store with 11 fewer cashiers than needed, creating longer lines to check out at the store.More

Sears rolls out the Fulfilled by Sears program for other retailers
Internet Retailer
Sears Holdings Corp. is rolling out Fulfilled by Sears. The service enables other retailers to fulfill online and offline orders in the United States through Sears' warehouses and stores, says Imran Jooma, the retail chain's corporate executive vice president and president of online, marketing, pricing and financial services.More

Mobile shopping catches on with affluent consumers
One of the big attractions of online shopping among affluent consumers has always been convenience. An October 2012 study of affluent shoppers by Unity Marketing confirms this: The greatest percentage of respondents cited convenience as a "very important" feature of online shopping among affluent consumers. But among a new demographic of affluent shoppers, mobile shopping might prove to be more convenient still.More

The one that got away
The Wall Street Journal
Regret that dress you didn't buy last fall? Websites selling still-stylish clothing from the not-too-distant past are at your service.More

EBay goes after Amazon with fee changes for sellers
EBay Inc recently said it will overhaul fees for sellers on its online marketplace, lowering them for many sellers as it steps up competition with Inc. EBay is simplifying its "final value fees" with the percentage fee levied on each sale determined by product categories. Currently, the percentage fee is based on an item's price.More

Disabled sue over Web shopping
The Wall Street Journal
Commerce has moved online. Now, the disability lawsuits are following. Advocates for disabled Americans have declared that companies have a legal obligation to make their websites as accessible as their stores, and they've filed suits across the country to force them to install the digital version of wheelchair ramps and self-opening doors.More

QR codes: The key to loyalty and payments?
Mobile Marketer
There has been discussion around Square's round of funding and how there is a battle going on over control of the point-of-sale — and it is not only about payment. It's possible that it is about loyalty, and leveraging the power of mobile to create a direct relationship with customers. Retailers are now looking to own that relationship with the customer.More

Can mobile targeting ever be as accurate as cookies on the desktop?
Advertising Age
Mobile ad startup Tapad recently announced it closed a $6.5 million series B funding round led by venture capital fund Firsthand Technology. By analyzing hundreds of data points including device type, browser type and content source, Tapad says that it can target consumers across devices with 70-75 percent accuracy. But Tapad is just one of numerous cross-device tracking companies to capture the attention of Madison Avenue and Silicon Alley with such claims. While mobile device adoption has been a boon to Apple and Samsung, it has threatened to make cookies — the lifeblood of digital advertising — less relevant. As the cookie slowly crumbles, advertisers have heralded new technologies that will one day replace them. More

Wal-Mart adds iPhone scan-and-checkout feature to 12 more markets
Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it is tripling the number of U.S. stores in a pilot program that lets shoppers scan items with their iPhones and pay at self-checkout counters. Wal-Mart's "Scan & Go" program will soon be in more than 200 stores, up from about 70. The pilot began near its home office in Bentonville, Arkansas in late 2012, then expanded to Atlanta.More

Top 500 restaurant chains show recovery
The 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains saw 4.9 percent sales growth in 2012, a marked improvement over 2011's 3.5 percent and a growth level not seen since 2007, according to foodservice consultancy Technomic. Sales for these leading chains grew to an estimated $254 billion last year, up by more than $12 billion versus 2011, shows Technomic's latest annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. More

Shoppers' 'mobile blinders' force checkout-aisle changes
Bloomberg Businessweek
For years, publishers could count on bored shoppers waiting in the checkout line to pick up a magazine, get engrossed in an article, and toss it into their cart alongside the milk and eggs. Then came "mobile blinders." These days, consumers are more likely to send a quick text and check their Facebook feed than to read a magazine or develop a momentary craving for the gum or candy on display. That has spurred companies such as Hearst Corp. and the Coca-Cola Co. to reconsider how they showcase their wares in supermarkets. More

Starbucks to expand loyalty program to Teavana and supermarkets
Chain Store Age
Starbucks Coffee Co. is expanding its customer loyalty program to the supermarket channel and its Teavana stores as it looks to double membership from 4.5 million members at the end of October 2012 to approximately nine million members by the end of fiscal 2013.More

Deloitte: Consumer spending remains steady in February
Chain Store Age
The Deloitte Consumer Spending Index remained steady in February primarily as a decline in initial unemployment claims and a rise in real average hourly earnings offset negative forces.More

Staples launches Windows Store app
Chain Store Age
Staples has launched its own Windows Store app for The app provides customers with access to Staples Rewards and features tools that make it easier for small businesses to research and shop for everything they need for their business or home office, the company said. More

Harvard Business Review Insight Center report: The future of retail
This Harvard Business Review report is packed with more than 30 thought-provoking articles that explore how advanced analytics is taking retail to a new tipping point. Category giants like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Staples, the Apple Store and Trader Joe's are featured in case study after case study — as experts give their insights on such topics as customer engagement, social media, merchandise assortment and inventory optimization.More

Reducing costs for your retail supply chain and stores — with sourcing best practices
Learn how retail-proven sourcing technology and best practices can give your retail supply chain significant savings and efficiency gains. This paper describes solutions that address non-merchandising sourcing challenges, including: aggregating the spend needs of hundreds or even thousands of stores; tackling complex transportation and distribution procurement in the face of network expansions and seasonality; procuring small parcel fulfillment; supporting reduced-waste and sustainability initiatives, and more. More

Grocers lift veil on store brands
The Tennessean
Supermarkets including Kroger, Safeway and Whole Foods are improving the image of their store brands with better packaging and more distinctive offerings. But where exactly do these products come from? It's a question a growing number of people may have as retailers increasingly develop their store brands as a way to cultivate loyalty among shoppers.More

Boscov's Supply Chain SVP: Executives must 'think outside the norms of their company'
Retails BIG Blog
Though the threat of a major port strike was recently averted, retail executives continue to face mounting challenges in managing increasingly complex global supply chains. To explore what's next for the retail supply chain executive after a tense few months of port strike talk, the National Retail Federation consulted with Larry Bergman, senior vice president of supply chain and operations for Boscov's Department Stores. More

How targeting online Easter shoppers via mobile devices can yield sales, engagement Blog
For winter-weary consumers, Easter signals a return to warmer weather as well as a chance to get out and celebrate a bit. According NRF's 2013 Easter consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight, 21 percent of Easter shoppers plan to make some part of their purchases specifically online this year.More

Bloomberg's plan would make stores conceal cigarettes
The New York Times
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, fresh off a defeat in his campaign to limit large servings of sugary drinks, is returning to a front where he has enjoyed far more success: making it more difficult to smoke, by recently proposing legislation requiring stores to put cigarettes out of sight. More

California police crack nationwide shoplifting spree targeting Apple stores, other electronics retailers
San Jose Mercury News
Four Chicago residents have admitted to Torrance police detectives that they are a "Gypsy family" from Poland responsible for shoplifting crimes at electronics stores across the United States, pilfering some $3 million in property during the last year. More

Webinar: Ready for the ACA? New regulations, new challenges effective June 2013
National Retail Federation
Enrollment issues are front and center as full implementation of the Affordable Care Act looms in 2014. Retailers should be focusing in on systems to manage employee hours and associated record keeping requirements. New enrollment procedures and further definition on essential health benefits are adding additional complexity to the mix. Retailers of all sizes with variable hour employees will need to start tracking their hours in June 2013 for 2014 look-back procedures.More

Dollar stores gaining in popularity in Florida as residents look to stretch their money
Orlando Sentinel
The proliferation of dollar stores nationwide is a "continuing trend that really started at the beginning of the last recession," said Dan Butler, vice president of retail operations for the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C. "As the economy's improving, these customers have found they're willing to shop across all segments," said Butler.More

Is 1-click shopping too easy?
The Christian Science Monitor
Online shopping is getting more and more streamlined as technology grows. But is that a good thing? American Express recently partnered with Twitter to launch Amex Sync, which lets users store their credit card information online and buy promoted products instantly by tweeting special hashtags. Such purchasing ease is great for retailers and convenient for consumers — perhaps too convenient, experts warn. As one-touch purchasing expands, retailers may be making it too easy for people to shop, boosting impulse buying and overspending. For incautious consumers, it could be financially dangerous.More

13 ways to painlessly improve profitability in 2013: Control HVAC
By Jay Fiske
All it takes is a quick glance around your store to understand why the U.S. Department of Energy statistics show that convenience stores and other food retailers are second only to restaurants in energy consumption. Stores like yours use almost three times more electricity per square foot than all other small commercial facilities. More than 25 percent of that cost can be directly traced to heating, ventilating and air conditioning. Here are some simple tips that can help you save money and boost the bottom line.More

Nobody really cares about your brand
Advertising Age
You may spend most of your waking hours thinking about your brand and its category, as well as the facts and figures that make your product superior to the competitors, but your target audience really couldn't pay less attention. This is a hard pill to swallow, considering how much time, energy and effort you put into the products and services that you're trying to sell. But, if you're going to be really successful, one of the most important realizations you can make is this: People don't care about your brand nearly as much as you do.More

This is the most popular customer service question ever
Retail Customer Experience
"How should I compensate a customer for a service or product failure?" This is one of the most common, popular, and emotionally fraught question in retail. The answer is: It depends. And that variability, in fact, is what's most important. Customers have diverse values and preferences — so your people who placate disgruntled customers need to be given enormous discretion. Still, there are principles that almost always apply. More

The future of retail: Reinventing and preserving the in-store experience
Brand Channel
Consider retailing a two-pronged challenge: On the one hand, retailers must accommodate the increasingly mobile consumer. On the other hand, the traditional retailer can't ignore the need to drive that consumer to a physical store. There is a flurry of activity surrounding online retail initiatives right now, with particular emphasis on mobile. But there is an equally intense effort to reinvent the traditional store. In fact, many retailers are beginning to realize that rather than close stores, they can sustain them by giving them a much-needed facelift.More

Wal-Mart adds iPhone scan-and-checkout feature to 12 more markets
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it is tripling the number of U.S. stores in a pilot program that lets shoppers scan items with their iPhones and pay at self-checkout counters. Wal-Mart's Scan & Go program will soon be in more than 200 stores, up from about 70. More

Attention ALA members

I found a Benrus watch many years ago with a DSA (Defense Supply Association) logo on the face. The back is inscribed with the name .M.F. Michael, Lt. USAF 1968.

Because of the inscription, I think it would be cool to return the watch to the proper owner/family.

Looking at ALA history, I see that this association was at one time DSA. So, I wonder if you would have records dating back to 1968 that could provide any additional information to Mr. Michael. The initials M.F. is too weak a search term, so a first and middle name would be much better.

I remember trying to locate Mr. Michael before but that was way before the internet — maybe we would have better luck now.

Please feel free to call me to discuss the watch (this is no prank), or, if you have his contact information, please feel free to provide him or his family with my contact information.

Best Regards,

Ric Hendrickson

IMCOM preps for furlough
Fort Gordon Signal
Army civilian personnel are bracing for the impact of furloughs and changing financial priorities on their organizations. Approximately 251,000 Department of the Army civilians expect to be notified soon if they will be furloughed up to 22 days starting in April. In order to meet national security responsibilities, IMCOM is prioritizing readiness and programs based on the Army strategy, while adjusting to the fiscal resources available.More

Department of Defense puts furloughs on hold
The Commandant of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle recently held a town hall meeting, to outline the army's plan for furloughing workers. But an hour later the Department of Defense put the pending furloughs on hold. More

Fallen contractor honored during memorial service
A somber memorial ceremony was recently held in remembrance of a civilian contractor who was killed March 8 during an insider attack that took place on Forward Operating Base Tagab in the Kapisa province in Afghanistan.More

With furlough looming, cuts to post services, programs to begin
Fort Hood Sentinel
With no budget, and the federal government operating on a continuing resolution at least through this month and potentially through the year, Fort Hood civilians are looking at 22 discontinuous days of furlough, and Soldiers and their Families will see cuts to some services on the installation. Sequestration and its cuts kicked in March 1, but civilian furloughs will not begin until April 26. More

RedBox kiosks outside NEX now sell tickets to live events
Ventura County Star
What do "Frankenweenie," the Hollywood Laugh Factory and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifier have in common? RedBox. The red kiosks outside the Navy Exchanges at Naval Base Ventura County, where everyone with base access can rent movies and video games, are now selling tickets to local sporting events, concerts and other live events.More