ALA Executive Briefing
Apr. 5, 2013

Obama to take pay cut to draw attention to plight of federal workers facing furloughs
The Washington Post
President Barack Obama plans to give up 5 percent of his salary this year to draw attention to the financial sacrifice of more than 1 million federal employees who will be furloughed by automatic spending cuts starting in less than three weeks, the White House recently said.More

Hagel warns of big squeeze at the Pentagon
The New York Times
Ending his first month as defense secretary, Chuck Hagel invited six young enlisted personnel for lunch in his private Pentagon office. Without military or civilian aides, Hagel himself took extensive notes as the sergeants and petty officers poured out their concerns about pay, benefits, training and sexual assault — issues that would decide whether they make the military a way of life or just a way station in life. More

US ups its show of force in Korea
The Wall Street Journal
The U.S. recently flew F-22 stealth fighter jets to South Korea for joint exercises, a further demonstration of advanced military capabilities meant to deter provocations from Pyongyang.More

Exiting the budget 'fog'
Navy Times via The Association of Naval Aviation
Nixing overhauls. Ships in limbo. Aircrews bracing for a slowdown. Even the possibility, at one point, that two carrier strike groups would be stuck on cruise — indefinitely. "We have reconciled that," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert said of the last possibility, one of the many drastic measures considered during the months-long budget crisis that the Navy only began to emerge from in late March, when lawmakers passed a spending bill. But the service, still short billions of dollars, will not be able to fully restore all of its accounts; it will fall to the CNO and other top leaders to decide things such as which ships will deploy and which will be repaired — choices certain to ripple beyond the next six months.More

Kaine to introduce bill aimed at easing veterans' transition into civilian jobs
The Washington Post
Sen. Timothy M. Kaine says he will file his first bill as soon as next week, aimed at helping veterans looking for civilian jobs to get professional credit for their military expertise.More

North Korea drives US to speed up Asia plans
USA Today via Current Mil-Tech News
North Korea's increased belligerence is prompting the Pentagon to accelerate its expanded military presence in Asia and the Pacific, a shift underway for the past year to counter China's growing power in the region.More

Santoni's launches grocery shuttle service
Progressive Grocer
On Monday, April 1, owners of Baltimore-based Santoni's Supermarket will launch East Baltimore's first-ever "Grocery Store Shuttle Service," dedicated to providing free transportation for residents in communities with low-vehicle ownership and little access to healthy foods.More

With top lines drooping, firms reach for vitamins
The Wall Street Journal
Like a lot of aging Americans, consumer products and drug companies are hoping vitamins will give them an energy boost. Supplements appeal because they can tap into the desire for health remedies and claim high prices, without the hassle of tough U.S. regulatory oversight. Sales of vitamins, minerals and supplements totaled nearly $23 billion in the U.S. last year, according to Euromonitor International, and are growing at a 5-7 percent annual clip.More

Procure desk calculators
Federal Business Opportunities
Anticipated issue date: April 10, 2013. This solicitation is being issued as 100 percent total set-aside for service disabled veteran-owned small businesses for desktop calculators to be delivered to Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the continental United States. The Request for Proposal will be posted on Fed BizOpps at www.fedbizopps.gov.More

Wal-Mart strains to keep aisles stocked fresh
The New York Times
Michelle Obama visited a Wal-Mart in February to extol the fresh, healthy food in the company's grocery aisles. But Wal-Mart, Obama's corporate partner in a campaign to make food healthier and more affordable, has been running into problems with food that is not so fresh. More

Grocery stores use smartphone deals to spur sales
The Christian Science Monitor
It's a commonly held belief amongst grocery store chains that the further a shopper walks into a store, the more likely it is that he or she will spend more money. But as it turns out, most shoppers actually end up covering less than half the area of an average grocery store, which equates to approximately 1,400 feet (or one-fifth of a mile, for you fitness buffs). So even though you may feel as if you're pushing your cart down aisles for hours, stores actually still aim to get us to walk around even more — and our own smartphones may be helping them accomplish this end.More

Frozen entrees give microwaves a cold shoulder
The Wall Street Journal
This should be the frozen entree's finest hour. As more Americans work longer hours, families are starved for convenient and satisfying options at dinnertime. And with growing awareness not only of what they are eating but also how much it costs, more families are looking for these options at home. Yet supermarket sales of frozen dinners have shown no growth in recent years.More

Door to Door Organics delivers fresh prepared meals
The Gourmet Retailer
Door to Door Organics, the Louisville, Colo.-based online-only natural and organic foods retailer with delivery into nine states, added fresh prepared meals to its Kansas City menu beginning March 15. Other Door to Door Organics locations, based in Colorado, Illinois, Michigan (including delivery into Ohio), and Pennsylvania (including delivery into New Jersey and Delaware), will add fresh prepared meals to their offerings over the next six to 12 months.More

More children influencing in-home breakfast occasions
Progressive Grocer
Children are eating 43 more meals at home each year than they did a decade ago, and maintain influence over some but not all in-home eating occasions, finds new food market research by The NPD Group. A recently released report, NPD's "Generation Mom: How Moms Provide and Kids Influence Consumption Patterns in the Home," finds that 31 percent of children influence what they eat for breakfast but few (3 percent) control what they eat for dinner. More

Grocery store RDs offer money-saving tips
U.S. News & World Report
We've all been there. Fueled by a New Year's resolution or inspired by the upcoming bikini season, we load our grocery cart up with fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, only to take it all home and throw the bulk of it away days later as it turns limp and stale in our kitchen. Is it any wonder that the most common misperception about healthy eating is that it costs too much? The following are some money-saving grocery shopping tips straight from the experts — registered dietitians who work for grocery store chains.More

Federal employees respond as sequester takes toll
By Maurice Leach
With the arrival of April 1, the across-the-board automatic spending cuts known as the sequester are still on schedule to go into effect. The $1.2 trillion in cuts authorized under the Budget Control Act negotiated by President Barack Obama and Congress were signed into law in August 2011.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

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.More

Congratulations Newcorp and their returning veterans!

We share this in huddle this morning with the Crestview Leadership team ... thought we would share with you as well.

Robert, a DTV employee, was called to active duty (Army) Feb. 6, 2012. Robert traveled to overseas where he served our country for 12-plus months.

Upon his return to the United States, Robert notified NEW that he wanted to return to his former job and we were happy to respond that his job was waiting on him. Robert explained to HR that many service personnel who have returned from active duty have found out that their jobs were not available for them to return to.

The military, in appreciation for NEW's commitment to military personnel has presented us a "Coin of Appreciation." Robert is very happy to be home and a part of the NEW team!

Melisa (Missy) Dalrymple
Human Resources ManagerMore

Amazon's head of mobile interfaces
MIT Technology Review
Sam Hall doesn't just eat his own dog food, as the Silicon Valley saying goes. He also orders it on his mobile phone. As vice president of mobile shopping at the world's largest online retailer, Hall is in charge of making sure it's easy, and very fast, to shop on Amazon using its apps and mobile websites. His mantra is that people should go from "wanting to buying in 30 seconds," and Hall is a compulsive tester of the process, using his phone to buy basketball hoops, dental floss, shampoo and even a gorilla costume for Halloween. More

3 retail trends you have to know in 2013
MultiChannel Merchant
Five short years ago, brick-and-mortar stores were pumping away quite solidly. Sure, they were feeling some of the changes that e-commerce and a little mobile shopping brought on, but it was hardly the explosion that we are seeing today. The following article takes a look at three trends retailers should be aware of, along with the key takeaways to help them keep their heads above water.More

As Amazon gets physical, Wal-Mart goes digital
The Wall Street Journal
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently said it will install lockers in some of its stores, fulfill online orders from its store shelves, and launch a new in-store mobile app as the retailer tries to marry its digital and physical assets and count on its network of 4,000 stores to help it compete with rival Amazon.More

McDonald's caters to job-seekers on the go
The Wall Street Journal
Job-seekers are growing comfortable looking for and applying to jobs on their mobile phones, but employers aren't keeping up with the trend. Just 3 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer a way for people to apply for jobs from a smartphone. These companies may be missing out on good job candidates as more people around the world use their phones for everything from paying bills to pursuing a career, said Mahe Bayireddy, CEO of iMomentous.More

CVS/pharmacy's new iPad App features 3-D virtual store, digital pharmacy experience
Drug Store News
CVS/pharmacy has launched a first-of-its-kind interactive app, delivering a virtual 3-D digital drug store experience for customers using Apple iPads. With the new CVS iPad app, customers can explore a virtual 3-D CVS/pharmacy and access services from the pharmacy, ExtraCare, photo center and MinuteClinic, as well as browse departments to shop.More

J.C. Penney revives 'mark-up to mark-down' tactic to boost sales
Reuters
J.C. Penney Co Inc said it had resumed a marketing strategy of raising prices and then discounting them on its own brands in a move to protect profit margins and win back the bargain-conscious shoppers it lost last year.More

Military shopping gets some private-sector upgrades
The Dallas Morning News
The first civilian to run the military's $10 billion-a-year retail business has his work cut out for him. The CEO of the Dallas-based Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Tom Shull, is the first retailer to hold the post, which had been a two-year officer assignment for 117 years. Shull, 61, joined AAFES in June under a 2011 Defense Department "efficiency initiatives" program, and his tenure doesn't have a time limit. "We've got to better understand the dynamics of our competitors and provide better value," said Shull.More

Sears promises big push in e-commerce
The Wall Street Journal
Sears Holdings Corp., already one of the largest online retailers in North America, is aiming even higher, this week rolling out a new program where it will ship merchandise supplied by other online retailers. The fulfillment service is meant to build fees and draw more sellers to Sears.com Marketplace, which already provides a forum for online merchants to connect with buyers. It also shows Sears wants to better compete against bigger online guns like Amazon.com Inc., which already offers a similar service. More

Wal-Mart to open concept store at Arizona State University
Phoenix Business Journal
Big-box retail king Wal-Mart is bringing a new small concept store to Arizona State University's Tempe campus. The ASU Wal-Mart store will open in May and include a pharmacy, check-cashing and bill pay services, convenience foods and other merchandise that geared towards college students and ASU faculty, said Wal-Mart communications director Delia Garcia.More

Oscar fashions stage a mall-store sequel at chains such as Sears, Forever 21
Forbes
A month after all the office pools, breathless acceptance speeches and star-studded post-show parties, the Oscar telecast is rapidly becoming a fading memory. Nonetheless, the looks from the red carpet are entering their second act: Be they prom frocks inspired by the strapless Dior dress donned by Jennifer Lawrence, accessories that draw from Halle Berry's metallic Versace gown or spring tops in the myriad blush tones and creams seen on the parade of stars, mass market versions of Oscar couture are turning up in America’s malls at chains from Sears to Forever 21.More

Understanding the stages of retail
Harvard Business Review
Consumers do not just wake up and make a purchase. The purchase process is staged. First, consumers recognize a need, then they search for information about products that might solve that need, they create a consideration set, and finally make a choice. That the purchase process is multi-staged is something we've known for years, but in this new age of radical change in retailing and hyper global competition, it is easy to forget the basics.More

The 2013 Global Retail Supply Chain Summit
National Retail Federation
The Global Supply Chain Summit is hosted by the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association. The summit is an exclusive gathering focused on creating a collaborative atmosphere that promotes learning, networking and idea sharing among senior level executives and their key supply chain partners. Make powerful connections and leave with innovative ideas. Click here to register.More

'The Transportation Path Forward'
National retail Federation
The Administration is putting a priority on infrastructure, including the supply chain. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary John Porcari will address the Administration's key initiatives including the implementation of freight related initiatives under MAP-21, the next highway bill and other key initiatives impacting retail supply chains. Click here to register for the 2013 Global Supply Chain Summit.More

DG to surpass 11,000 stores in 2013
RetailingToday
Fourth quarter same store sales increased 3 percent at Dollar General as the company capped of another record year and indicated it would open 635 stores this year.More

Esurance to market coverage at select Wal-Mart stores
Chicago Tribune
Online car-insurance retailer Esurance launched a pilot program on March 22 to market coverage within 150 Illinois Wal-Mart stores. Esurance, which Allstate Corp. bought for $1 billion in 2011, is setting up unmanned kiosks at which shoppers in the world's biggest retailer may pick up a savings card to buy coverage. Customers may then use a code on the card to get a discount on car insurance.More

Economy: Consumers will keep spending as US hurdles fade
Bloomberg
American consumers, who kept shopping through rising fuel costs and delayed tax refunds, will probably continue buoying the world's largest economy as these hurdles dissipate. Employment gains, the drop in energy costs, rising stock prices and reduced debt mean households have the wherewithal to overcome a payroll-tax increase that took an additional 2 percent out of take-home pay this year. More

The best sales associate for a retail brand? Educated ... not trained
Forbes
You have to start with selecting people who have certain personality traits. Our absorption with social media these days is often a cop-out in one respect. Something far more fundamental is involved: Do sales associates genuinely like people? Do they want to know about people? Are they thoughtfully interested in how their customers behave as people?More

Wal-Mart may use customers to deliver packages to online buyers
San Jose Mercury News
Wal-Mart is considering a radical plan to have store customers deliver packages to online buyers, a new twist on speedier delivery services that the company hopes will enable it to better compete with Amazon.com. Tapping customers to deliver goods would put the world's largest retailer squarely in middle of a new phenomenon sometimes known as "crowd-sourcing," or the "sharing economy."More

Nordstrom woos young women with lower prices
The Seattle Times
For young women in a wired world, a mobile device is as much a fashion statement as the clothes they wear. Even if money's tight, many will find room in their budgets for a smartphone and tablet and make the most of old clothes. That's a challenge for Nordstrom, which now hopes to attract 20- and 30-somethings with more trendy, moderately priced clothing that better suits their spending habits.More

OfficeMax tries new format targeting small businesses in Milwaukee
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The future of retailer OfficeMax may be taking shape in a single store in downtown Milwaukee. The Naperville, Ill.-based office supply chain says it has refashioned its existing outlet in The Shops of Grand Avenue into a new format that is smaller in size but bigger on services it can offer to its key customers — small-business owners.More

Prolonged winter puts retail sales in deep freeze
CNBC
Abnormally cold weather curbs consumer demand for spring goods and apparel, but some companies, including drug chains and dollar stores, are benefiting from the spring's delay. "Right now, March is trending the coldest since 1996 in the U.S. It's also the snowiest March since 2002," said Evan Gold, senior vice president of client services at Planalytics, a company that analyzes how weather affects consumer demand.More

As teens abandon malls, trendy retailers suffer
Crain's New York Business
Winter's grip on the Northeast is causing more than grumbles from fed-up New Yorkers. It's one more blow to teen retailers that had hoped early-spring shoppers would revive struggling sales. "No one is going out and buying shorts and dresses and lightweight spring product right now, and that's a challenge when the floors are all merchandise for spring," said Stephanie Wissink, a retail analyst at Piper Jaffray.More

How Sears got into the data-services game
Advertising Age
Would you hire Sears to manage your data strategy? The troubled retailer known for brands like Kenmore and Craftsman is promoting a business-to-business brand called MetaScale that does just that. More

Wal-Mart offers gasoline discount to woo shoppers
Chicago Tribune
Wal-Mart is cutting gasoline prices by up to 15 cents a gallon for drivers in 21 U.S. states who pay with its cards in an attempt to woo shoppers grappling with high prices at the pump. The discount will be 15 cents a gallon for customers paying with a Wal-Mart MoneyCard or credit card from April 1 through July 7, and 10 cents a gallon for those using a Wal-Mart gift card, Wal-Mart Stores Inc said in a recent statement.More

American Greetings agrees to go private
Internet Retailer
American Greetings Corp., which sells digital greeting cards and related products online, recently announced it has reached a deal to be taken private by a buyout group owned by the Weiss family, which dominates top management of the company. The deal is valued at $878 million, including the e-retailer's debt obligations.More

J.C. Penney's home revamp is make or break for CEO Johnson
Reuters
It's crunch time for J.C. Penney Co Inc Chief Executive Ron Johnson. The struggling department store chain is poised to open the first of its new home goods boutiques on April 5, a launch that Johnson himself has called "pivotal" to his efforts to revive Penney.More

Will dollar stores rule the retail world?
TIME
Recently, Dollar General, the U.S.'s largest dollar-store chain, posted better-than-expected profits, helping boost the company's stock, which is up 15 percent year to date. And Dollar General isn't the only dollar chain to have had success in recent years. Competitors Dollar Tree and Family Dollar have also experienced significant growth in revenue since the 2008 recession. More

Best Buy and Target end Geek Squad experiment
Star Tribune
The Geek Chic experiment has come to an end. Best Buy Co. Inc. and Target Corp. recently confirmed they agreed to end a partnership that stationed Geek Squad agents at Target stores in Denver and Minneapolis. For Best Buy, the decision was not entirely surprising. Since CEO Hubert Joly joined the company in September, the Richfield-based consumer electronics retailer has refocused the company's attention on fixing store operations, which accounts for most of its $51 billion in annual sales.More

Retailers track employee thefts in vast databases
The New York Times
Facing a wave of employee theft, retailers across the country have helped amass vast databases of workers accused of stealing and are using that information to keep employees from working again in the industry. More

Survey predicts busiest summer hiring season in years
PizzaMarketPlace
This year's summer hiring season is expected to be busier than it has been in recent years, according to the sixth annual summer jobs survey commissioned by Snagajob, an hourly employment network. The number of hiring managers planning to hire more summer staff this year is up 10 points from last year (19 percent up from 9 percent), and wages are at their highest level since the survey's inception.More

Why you should focus on reverse logistics
By Archita Datta Majumdar
Though it's not a new concept, the importance of reverse logistics is being more keenly felt in the last decade. Fluctuating economies and stiff global competition have made profit margins change while demanding more of service and quality than ever before. In such situations, dealing with returned, recycled and damaged goods is an entire area of business by itself. It can no longer be dealt as an afterthought by the sales, merchandising or procurement teams to match their monthly figures.More

57 percent of consumers rely on product videos
MediaPost
If your brand doesn't produce product videos, start now. Consumers are watching them, viewing them, and making purchase decisions on e-commerce sites because of product videos. About 57 percent of consumers said that product videos make them more confident in a purchase and less likely to return an item, up from 52 percent a year ago, according to a white paper from e-commerce services company Invodo.More

Wal-Mart is allegedly considering customer-to-customer delivery service
Reuters via Fast Company
Wal-Mart, king of big-box and the world's largest retailer by revenue, is considering a new delivery plan that would have in-store customers deliver packages to online buyers, Reuters reports. In exchange, the customers making deliveries would receive a discount off their shopping bills.More

Loyalty requires satisfaction with all channels
Internet Retailer
"Omnichannel" is the latest retail buzzword, signifying merchants' attempts to satisfy consumers however they choose to shop. Customers are coming at merchants from all sides in today's mobile-fueled world and retailers have to be prepared to meet customers' needs anytime, anywhere.More

4 ways to get customers to open your emails
Entrepreneur
If you want to be a successful email marketer, it's essential that subscribers open your messages. After all, if your audience isn't opening your emails, it's impossible for them to take action, such as clicking through to your website or making a purchase. But how do you keep them opening your emails on a regular basis? There are four primary ways: solve a problem; save them money; make them smarter; or entertain them.More

The convenience of co-branding
Convenience Store Decisions
Retailers large and small are wise to vie for a piece of the foodservice pie if they want their business to grow amid changing margins in core areas of business from fuel to tobacco. But running a successful food program can be a daunting task, especially if your expertise does not reside in the foodservice arena. That's why many chains are turning to co-branded options, partnering with a program they run inside their stores using their own employees, but backed by larger national or regional advertising programs and first rate training and market research. More

Army creates access card for Gold Star families
Military.com
The U.S. Army Installation Management Command recently implemented a program to ensure Family members of Fallen Soldiers have easier access to Army installations. On March 14, Army installations began issuing a standardized Gold Star Installation Access Card to parents and siblings of deceased active duty Soldiers to allow unescorted access to the installation, so they are able to receive services and support.More

America pays tribute to spouses, family members of fallen military
U.S. Army
America will pay respect April 5 to the spouses and families of fallen members of the U.S. Armed Forces. A resolution to designate Gold Star Wives Day was approved March 20 by the U.S. Senate in recognition of the sacrifices made by these spouses and family members.More

ACAP equips soldiers to find civilian jobs
U.S. Army
As Fort Sill's Army Career and Alumni Program entered the second week of evaluating the pilot curriculum of the Transition Assistance Program, they had a special visitor — the program's top director. Walter Herd serves as Director of the Army Transition Office, which is part of the Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Ky. Herd's program has developed new resources for the enhanced TAP pilot, which revised the 22-year old program in response to President Barack Obama's executive order issued Dec. 29 of last year mandating that Soldiers who are transitioning out of the Army begin the pre-separation counseling at least 12 months prior to their separation date. More

Are you a wounded warrior transitioning to civilian employment? IMCOM wants YOU!
U.S. Army
There are vacant positions throughout the U.S. Army Installation Management Command which need to be filled so IMCOM can provide world-class customer service and deliver programs and services to soldiers, civilians and families. Throughout the command, about 40 percent of civilian employees have served in uniform. Use the following resources and join the team today!More