ALA Executive Briefing
May. 1, 2015

Obama could tap new top general soon
President Barack Obama is expected to announce his pick for the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a senior U.S. official told CNN.More

House committee rejects DoD budget proposals
Military Officers Association of America
On April 15, MOAA chapter and council leaders from across the country visited nearly every congressional office to speak out against the DoD's proposed changes to TRICARE, pay and benefits. MOAA members strengthened this initiative by sending their elected officials nearly 44,000 communications reaffirming this message. The House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee (HASC-P) listened. None of DoD's proposals to cut pay and benefits were included ... The subcommittee rejected DoD's request to reduce the commissary subsidy that would have led to reduced hours and operating days. Before making changes to the commissary system, subcommittee members are waiting for a congressionally mandated study on the effects of price markups in commissaries, which is due in September.More

Commissary cuts not supported
NAUS Weekly Update
The House Armed Services Committee version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill that is now taking shape would reject the DoD recommendation to dramatically phase down spending on commissaries. That Administration proposed reduction would have required most commissaries to reduce operating days and hours. Committee members rejected DoD's request for legislation that would have allowed commissary officials to raise prices in order to pay for some operating costs. Items currently are sold at cost, with taxpayer dollars paying for overhead and employee wages and benefits.More

House Armed Services Committee to take up Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission retirement recommendations
Association of the United States Navy
In a surprise move, House Armed Services Committee Chairman, Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, announced that the House defense panel will take up the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) retirement recommendations in this year's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate has also stated that they will follow suit ... We at AUSN believe that drafting any of the MCRMC's recommendations into law this year is too rash of a move and puts the benefits of our future service members at risk. Instead, we believe more analysis on these MCRMC recommendations is needed and the House and Senate Armed Services Committees should wait until the possible impact of these recommendations is understood.More

Proposal to change commissary workers' status
Military Times
A significant gap in wages and benefits offered to commissary workers and exchange employees doing the same jobs appears to be rooted in a simple fact: The Defense Commissary Agency is funded by taxpayer dollars, while the exchanges are self-supporting businesses that pay their employees out of store profits. DeCA has been under increasing pressure from defense officials to drastically cut its budget. But the idea of converting government employees to NAF is raising concerns about the effects of lower salaries and benefits on those employees, a group that includes a number of military spouses.More

First lady announces jobs, training for 90,000 vets, spouses
U.S. Department of Defense
First lady Michelle Obama announced that numerous technology and energy companies have committed to hire or train 90,000 veterans and military spouses in the next five years as part of the Joining Forces initiative ... Shortly after Joining Forces was launched, President Barack Obama also challenged the private sector to hire 100,000 veterans and military spouses, the first lady said. Now, less than four years later, "America's businesses have continued to race past my husband's initial goal, and together, those businesses who answered the president's call have hired or trained more than 850,000 veterans and military spouses." More

Children's program aims to curb obesity, boost nutrition
U.S. Department of Defense
As concerns persist over ever-rising obesity levels among American children, the Defense Department will bolster its Healthy Children programs to weave fitness, nutrition and tobacco-free living into military children's curriculum, a Pentagon official told DoD News. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity rates in the United States have tripled since 1980, and these statistics portend possible jeopardy to the readiness of future service members.More

Other Defense Agencies: Nutritional Guide Program
IT Briefing
The Defense Commissary Agency plans to solicit for a turn-key full service Nutritional Guide Program. A Nutritional Guide Program is necessary to help DeCA support the Office of Military Community and Family Policy's Healthy Base Initiative. The request for proposal will be released on or about May 7, 2015, with a closing date on or around June 8, 2015, 1 p.m. EST. This RFP will be issued on an unrestricted basis.More

Tax on junk food may ignite new health trend
By Archita Datta Majumdar
A Native American community just enacted a landmark decision to fight obesity and diabetes, two of the major reasons for death in America today. In recent years, multiple states and cities have attempted to boost public health by enforcing a soda tax — and most have failed. For the Navajo Nation Council, this clearly wasn't enough. Now the community of 250,000 people living in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico will see increased taxes for all kinds of junk foods that have "minimal-to-no nutritional value."More

Analysts: 'Pure food' trend a boon to supermarkets
Supermarket News
The so-called "mainstreaming" of the health and wellness trend is increasingly tarnishing iconic food suppliers while helping supermarket retailers in particular gain a greater control of food industry profits. Scott Mushkin, an analyst at Wolfe Research in New York, published those findings in a report based on a proprietary survey of American women showing the trend toward "pure foods" is strengthening beyond "Millennial Moms." More

US consumers warming to digital grocery shopping
When it comes to what's for dinner, America still lags much of the world in its willingness to find digital solutions. But a new report from Nielsen says that between millennials, in-store tech advances and such emerging delivery options as Instacart and Amazon, the future is closer than you might think. More

Supermarket price wars hitting producers in the pocket
International Supermarket News
Tracy Ewen, managing director of IGF Invoice Finance, comments on supermarket price wars hitting producers in the pocket: "It's of huge concern that the number of food and drink manufacturers suffering 'significant' financial distress has almost doubled in a single year. Price wars we are currently seeing in supermarkets are yet another example of the big grocers battling for competitive market share, with little thought for their suppliers who are being forced to accept lower costs."More

Wal-Mart to focus on food 'upstreaming' agenda
The City Wire
Fresh is an important word at Wal-Mart Stores these days as the retail giant's U.S. CEO Greg Foran believes the retailer can and will do a better job in this segment of the grocery space.More

Tyson Foods to stop using human antibiotics on chicken
The natural food trend in restaurants and Americans' dining habits is catching up to Tyson Foods. The Arkansas-based meat processor has announced its intention to eliminate human antibiotics from its chickens by September 2017, according to the Associated Press.More

5 ways grocers can stop consumers from visiting multiple retailers
Progressive Grocer
Grocers are no longer just competing against each other. They now face an onslaught of new competitors, as big box retailers, pharmacies, dollar stores and deep-pocketed online players all push to sell grocery. More

Innovative technology drives barrier packaging trends
By Don Rosato
Despite being costly, plastic barrier packaging has established itself in the food and beverage sector because it can prevent oxygenation and thus degradation of contents. It is being used to increase shelf life, protect flavor profiles and maintain food appearance without adding preservatives. Knowing what the next "green" sustainable trends are in the packaging world is a must in order for companies to enhance their environmental credentials. Let's take a look at some key sustainable plastics barrier packaging trends.More

Exchange unveils new Wiesbaden Shopping Center
Public Affairs
The Wiesbaden community celebrated the opening of the Wiesbaden Exchange Shopping Center in Sembach, Germany, on April 17 on the Hainerberg housing area. The community warmly welcomed the new mall, nearly 60 years in the making.More

3 lessons from the Target-Lilly Pulitzer fail
Chain Store Age
In theory, the launch of a limited-time, 250-piece Lilly Pulitzer designer collection on April 19 should have been a major coup for Target. Instead, it was a major disaster in marketing, CRM and operations. By now, the story of how consumer demand for Lilly Pulitzer overwhelmed Target's website and stores has been told many times. Let's look at three lessons retailers can learn from this experience.More

$23,660-a-year 'executives' will see a raise from Obama rule
Bloomberg Business
President Barack Obama is preparing to do what the U.S. economic recovery has been slow to accomplish: raise the wages of millions of Americans.More

Retail rents: Who's paying the most?
For retailers, it's no longer as easy as giving the rubber stamp when a store's lease comes up for renewal. Instead, as they look to prune their fleets to boost their overall productivity, companies are analyzing their physical footprints more than ever.More

How millennials spend money
Asbury Park Press (poll question required)
Anna Lichnowski waits for sales. When she wants to buy something, the 27-year-old scours the Internet for coupons and promotions. But Lichnowski doesn't always buy online, contrary to what most people believe about millennials. She actually prefers trolling brick-and-mortar stores for clothing, groceries and everyday household items.More

Survey: Ace is nation's most favorite home improvement chain
Chain Store Age
Ace Hardware is America's favorite home improvement store and Costco is the favorite for home furnishings, according to a new nationwide survey by Market Force Information. More

Retailers are clamoring for a new kind of ideal customer
Business Insider
Retailers from Target to Burberry are targeting a new kind of customer. The market's sweet spot right now are people aged 25-34 with money to spend but who aren't rich, luxury marketing expert Pam Danziger said in a recent report. She calls these customers HENRYs, for "High Earners Not Rich Yet."More

Traditional retailers catch up to online-only names
The tide is starting to turn for bricks-and-mortar retailers. Long the digital laggard to online-only shops, traditional stores are beginning to capitalize on their robust physical footprints — namely, by using them as souped-up distribution networks — as they continue to make their Web and mobile operations easier for shoppers to use. More

Wal-Mart shuffles US store management to improve sales
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would eliminate the position of zone manager in its U.S. stores while adding up to 8,000 new department heads as part of an overhaul of its store operations.More

The Dollar Store experiment: 10 products put to the test
MSN Money
During the recession, sales soared at the three major dollar stores. Even as the country moved out of recession, these discount retailers continued to grow, opening new stores, expanding product lines and maintaining sales increases that show dollar store shoppers aren't going anywhere. Part of the sustained appeal is the increasing availability of name-brand merchandise, as opposed to the generic products usually associated with discount retailers. The Experiment: Does it made more financial sense to run errands at a dollar store or go to a big-box store, like Wal-Mart or Target? More

PepsiCo reformulates Diet Pepsi minus the aspartame
PepsiCo is going right to the heart of the problem. After five years of backlash over the perceived dangers of the zero-calorie sweetener aspartame, the beverage maker said it will replace its current Diet Pepsi offerings in the United States with new formulations that are free of aspartame.More

Can anything cool down M&A in the C-store industry?
Convenience Store News
The merger and acquisition market in the convenience and gas station industry is showing no signs of slowing down and the level of transactional activity in the first quarter of 2015 has started where 2014 ended — red hot. More

McLane's kitchen mission
A crucial cog in the evolution of convenience-store food service is the supply chain, and McLane Co. Inc. announced a major step toward helping retailers become even bigger competitors in the battle for share of the food service pie. More

What Kraft-Heinz merger means for C-store operators
Convenience Store News
Now that the dust has settled on the recent announcement of the planned H.J. Heinz Co. and Kraft Foods Group Inc. merger, the potential upsides and downsides are surely on the minds of convenience store operators throughout the nation. More

Setting aside time to care about our valuable alliance
Debra S. Wada, assistant secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), visited Mihail Kogalniceanu Airbase, Romania, April 25, as part of a tour of the various joint-training military installations across Europe taking part in Operation Atlantic Resolve. Wada took the opportunity to inspect and learn more about the conditions and equipment provided for military and civilian affairs, Reserve Mobilizations, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation for all soldiers involved in Operation Atlantic Resolve.More

Georgia: Kings Bay host for special fitness training
Kings Bay Periscope
The Kings Bay Fitness Center in Kings Bay, Georgia, will host a Navy Operational Fitness and Fueling System training April 27 to May 1, a first for Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay. SUBASE Kings Bay was selected by Commander, Naval Installations Command to host the training where more than 30 fitness instructors from across the nation will learn about operational fitness.More

Texas: Fort Hood calendar of events
Fort Hood Sentinel