ALA Executive Briefing
May. 23, 2014

Memorial Day will focus Congress on military affairs
National Journal
With millions of Americans set to commemorate Memorial Day weekend, the House is wrapping itself in military affairs this week, acting on legislation to boost accountability at the embattled Veterans Affairs Department and taking up the annual National Defense Authorization Act.More

Dempsey to retired generals: Shut up when it comes to politics
Like former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, does not like it when he sees retired generals making political statements. Dempsey's view: If you are a retired officer and want to run for political office, go for it. If not, keep your mouth closed.More

AF secretary: 18,700 more airmen cuts before it's over
Air Force Times
Says the goal is to "get it behind us" by summer 2015. More

Searching for a 21st century Navy
Real Clear Defense
At its core, the United States is a maritime nation. Since the founding fathers crafted the Constitution as the guiding document for a new nation, they wisely saw the need for maintaining a Navy capable of defending the new republic. While the forces necessary to maintain American seapower have waxed and waned over the years, the need for a strong Navy – capable of defending the homeland as well as projecting power around the globe – has never been more stark than today.More

Senators reject military base closures
The Hill
The Senate Armed Services Committee's 2015 defense policy bill will reject a new round of military base closures, according to leaders of the panel's subcommittee on military readiness and management. More

Pest control service
Federal Business Opportunities
Pest control service at Fort Huachuca Commissary, Arizona. The Period of Performance will be for a base period starting as early as July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through June 30, 2019. This Request for Quote will be issued on/or about May 27, 2014 with a tentative closing date of June 11, 2014. This acquisition is being issued as 100 percent Small Business set-aside.More

Federal contracts awarded by federal agencies in Virginia (May 21)
The following federal contracts were announced by federal agencies based in Virginia.More

Branding-focused ads remain No. 1 for US CPG industry
The U.S. consumer packaged goods (CPG) and consumer products industry's advertising spending on digital media will hit $4.20 billion in 2014 and steadily increase to $7.04 billion by 2018, according to a new eMarketer report, "The US CPG and Consumer Products Industry 2014: Digital Ad Spending Forecast and Trends," part of our new report series, "2014 Digital Ad Spending Benchmarks by Industry."More

Fresh fruits and vegetables, Pacific area
Federal Business Opportunities
The Defense Commissary Agency will contract with one or more sources to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, to various DeCA Commissary stores in South Korea, Japan (to include Okinawa) and the U.S. Territory of Guam (Pacific area). The solicitation lists the required High Volume Core Item (HVCI) Schedule of Supplies Pricing Spreadsheet, Availability Non-Core Items and Core Item Listing. The contractor(s) are also required to provide U.S. blend bagged salads originating from companies listed in the Directory of Sanitarily Approved Sources for Armed Forces Procurement.More

DeCA to unveil 'Your Healthy Lifestyle Festival at installations worldwide
EPR Retail News
The Defense Commissary Agency will unveil the Your Healthy Lifestyle Festival June 6 through July 6 at 236 installations worldwide. This inaugural event will allow patrons to see discounted prices on produce at commissary farmers markets, savings on workout equipment at exchanges, and fitness events hosted by base morale, welfare and recreation activities. With the theme "Shop Healthy! Eat Healthy! Be Healthy!," the festival reinforces the health and wellness goals of the military community. The festival combines commissary farmers markets, exchange sidewalk sales, MWR fitness events, demos, music, free nutritious food samples, prize giveaways, discount coupon offers, health and wellness information, and children's programs.More

Fully equipped
Grocery Headquarters
Historically, equipment designed for the deli, bakery and kitchen strictly played a functional role. Today equipment represents much more, for one simple reason — it has to. Modern cooking and food prep equipment is now called upon to handle multiple tasks. It needs to be smaller to accommodate tight spaces, easy enough to be used by anyone, able to increase product output and speed up the task at hand.More

Natural and organic foods: Profit vs. performance
By Archita Datta Majumdar
There's a war out there, but this one is all about feeding people right instead of killing. As more people are dropping foods based on genetically modified organisms from their diets, sales figures for products marked with eco-friendly labels like "organic" and "natural" are rising. The organic food industry is slated to reach $50 billion by 2018 in North America, and brands like Whole Foods, Kroger and Sprouts are in fierce competition to tap the increasing potential of the organic food market.More

E. coli illnesses spark ground beef recall
Progressive Grocer
Just days before Memorial Day weekend — which traditionally marks the kickoff of summer grilling season — Detroit-based Wolverine Packing Co. is recalling approximately 1.8 pounds of ground beef products that may be contained with E. coli O157:H7. Although the products were originally reported to have been shipped to restaurant distributors in a handful of states, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Services recently said upon further investigation that it now believes they were sent to distribution centers nationwide. More

Consumers want the truth: Kroger presenter
Supermarket News
To resonate with contemporary consumers who relish authentic foods, brand marketers must be transparent, said Mathis Martines, Kroger's senior category manager for innovation and snacks, at the Bevnet Beverage Entrepreneur & Innovation Conference in New York. "I think the biggest thing they can do is be authentic, to be transparent," said Martines. More

US retail market up 2 percent in the 1st quarter of 2014
Retail Customer Experience
The U.S. retail market increased 2.28 percent year over year in Q1 2014, totaling $1.08 trillion for the quarter, according to projections from eMarketer. For all of 2014, U.S. retail sales will rise 4.4 percent to reach $4.74 trillion in 2014, eMarketer estimates, while retail e-commerce sales in the U.S. will total $304.1 billion this year, accounting for 6.4 percent of total U.S. retail sales. More

DeCA announces Best Commissary Awards winners
Defense Commissary Agency
Each year, the Defense Commissary Agency honors select military commissaries worldwide for exceptional service and dedication in delivering the commissary benefit. Known as the DeCA Best Commissary Awards, the honors continue at least a 50-year tradition, dating back long before DeCA's inception, to recognize overall excellence in commissary operations and service.More

Expanded online sales to all veterans being discussed
Newberry Observer
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials want to expand shopping privileges at the online exchange store to all honorably discharged veterans, sources said. That would open the online store to about 20 million veterans, according to a source familiar with the discussions. AAFES officials contend the move would have no negative impact on current eligible shoppers, and would be a boon to revenues and profits that support MWR programs on installations.More

ALA NY's annual West Point Golf Outing is 1 month away!

The ALA NY Chapter is having its annual West Point Golf Outing on Monday, June 23. Proceeds from the event benefit the Military Commanders' Scholarship Fund.

We do not currently have an online registration process - any inquiries can be directed to me at this email address:


Joe Mugnai

How Trader Joe's is eating Whole Foods' lunch
MSN Money
Trader Joe's is on fire. The company famously sells more than two times per square foot than the average grocery chain. For years, Whole Foods Market was the dominant name in organic groceries. But the company has recently faced declining sales as more companies offer organic food. Consumer perception of Trader Joe's is significantly higher than that of Whole Foods Market, according to a recent YouGov BrandIndex study. More

Kate Spade courting new customers
Women's Wear Daily
The company is eyeing technology as a way to increase customer acquisition efforts. (Subscription required.)More

Is e-commerce helping Macy's 'age gracefully'?
As many department stores struggle to recover from the recent winter weather as well as longer term shifts in consumer shopping habit, Macy's managed to eke out better than anticipated profits last quarter. The company also showed confidence about the future by reiterating prior guidance and announcing plans to return cash to shareholders.More

How the Internet has transformed shopping
National Retail Federation Chairman Stephen Sadove discusses the future of online retailing on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg Surveillance."More

Trader Joe's Friday opening will draw huge crowds
Sun Sentinel
They drive for miles, these Trader Joe's fanatics. They pass one grocery store after another, drive through one traffic light and the next, just to get to their preferred destination. And there the prizes await when they stroll in: chunky guacamole, chile-lime chicken burgers, chocolate orange sticks and cheap wines.More

Retail sales slow, but growth outlook still upbeat
U.S. retail sales braked sharply in April after strong gains in the prior two months, but that did little to change views the economy was poised for faster growth this quarter. The Commerce Department said retail sales edged up 0.1 percent last month, held back by declines in receipts at furniture, electronic and appliance stores, restaurants and bars and online retailers.More

Apple tries to lift online sales by cutting refund times in half
Apple Inc has cut in half the time it takes to give refunds to online store customers who want to return their iPhones and other gadgets, a small but crucial step to try to get more people to buy direct from its website. The move is a big upfront expense on Apple's part, but could pay off in the long run if the company can lure online customers away from retailers such as Inc and Best Buy Inc, industry experts say.More

Michaels' responsive site lacks streamlined experiences needed for mobile
Mobile Commerce Daily
While arts and crafts retailer Michaels built its new ecommerce site with inspirational content, including projects that are trending on Pinterest, to cater to on-the-go mobile users, the apparent use of responsive design results in a clunky experience for smartphone shoppers, with long load times for pages and overlapping content.More

M-commerce to be majority of e-commerce by 2018
While actual sales made through mobile phones and tablets haven't yet made a tremendous impact on e-commerce, Forrester's just-released prediction is that those transactions will amount to $293 billion by 2018, a whopping 54 percent of all online sales.More

Managing multiple channels still a challenge for department stores
Women's Wear Daily
More than a decade after the emergence of e-commerce threatened brick-and-mortar retailers, department stores globally are still struggling. (Subscription required.)More

Mirror, mirror in the app: What's the fairest shade and shadow of them all?
The New York Times
As any lipstick shopper knows, deciding between tropical coral, peony pink and fairest nude is not a straightforward choice. And without being able to apply new colors, to pucker or smile in a shade unknown, it is quite easy to buy a fashion mistake. Now, one beauty company has come up with a high-tech way to figure it out, and others are experimenting with bringing a virtual makeup counter to their customers.More

Do you know what's going in your Amazon shopping cart?
The Wall Street Journal
Every now and then Matthew Frank, whose company makes Tovolo-brand ice-cube molds and trays, will slow down shipments of his kitchenware to Inc. and then conduct test buys as the Internet retailer's stock runs low. What he finds after cutting back the flow of his products: Knockoff products rise to the top, said Frank, chief executive of ICI USA LLC, which owns Tovolo.More

Wal-Mart notches Web win against rival Amazon
The Wall Street Journal
In the hard-fought world of online retail, Wal-Mart has finally notched a win against rival Amazon: For the first time in a decade Wal-Mart's Web sales grew faster than the online retailing giant's.More

RadioShack reduces planned store closures
Chain Store Age
RadioShack Corp. is scaling back its plans to close 1,100 stores. In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the retailer said its lenders are offering unacceptable terms for RadioShack to proceed with that many store closures. However, the company will still shutter a number of locations as part of its turnaround plan.More

New eMarketer store productivity rankings
eMarketer recently launched a new retail service covering store productivity, sales performance by channel, real estate, digital presence and other indicators for more than 225 U.S.-based retailers. The top retailers with the highest sales per square foot, a defining metric of brick-and-mortar store productivity, are Apple, Murphy USA and Tiffany & Co., according to data from eMarketer Retail.More

Winter of 2013-2014: 5 lessons retailers can learn
Progressive Grocer
The winter of 2014 brought record cold and snow throughout North America, and its impacts on business and consumer spending were widespread and significant. How impactful was it? Well, for the S&P 500 companies, the word "weather" was mentioned in almost 200 earnings calls from January through March, an 81 percent increase compared with last year. As retailers look back on this past winter, there are several lessons to be learned that can — and should — be applied to winter 2014-2015 plans.More

Start a hot food program
Houston Chronicle
Convenience stores offer a quick resource to buy common items such as food staples, household items or toiletries on the way home from work or on a lunch hour. Convenience stores are also an alternative to fast food as many of the food offerings have changed from candy and chips, to hot sandwiches, pizza, chicken and other carry-out foods. There are a few options for starting a convenience store food program, including in-house preparation, co-branding with other restaurants or fast-food chains and commissary options.More

BP debuts 'to go' convenience store 'makeover kit'
Following a successful pilot by Parent Petroleum Inc. at three stations in 2013, BP has launched its new "to go" retail image, a flexible image offer that allows BP branded marketers to upgrade their convenience stores with an attractive, new look inside and out. The "to go" image is available starting this month.More

The 4 P's of selling more beer
So we've established that craft beer is a lucrative opportunity — a $1-billion opportunity — for convenience store retailers. Here's the "how." It begins with an annual beer-category plan. Don't have one? No worries! Let's review key beer segments.More

How big retailers are changing to challenge convenience stores
Glenn Plumby of Speedway discusses the vulnerabilities other retailers are attacking and the strengths they can't replicate at the NACS SOI Summit.More

Kwik Trip adds fresh meats
Kwik Trip Inc. has added fresh meats to its mix, the Wisconsin-based convenience store retailer announced in a series of social media posts this month. The move is in part designed to provide the last ingredient — meat — for the summer grilling grocery list.More

What's next step in Wal-Mart's small-format rollout strategy?
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is entering the third phase of it Walmart Express small-format pilot process. "We're exploring tethering this format to our larger supercenters," Bill Simon, president and executive vice president of Walmart U.S., said during the company's first-quarter earnings call.More

More convenience stores offering U-Haul services, supplies
U-Haul International Inc. has added dealers in several states this year. Ashland Grand Station in Chicago recently added U-Haul products and services to its gas station business. The location can now offer its customers a variety of moving equipment and supplies including trucks and trailers, after-hours dropoff, rental items, towing equipment and boxes and packing supplies.More

Reader upset by abrupt closing of fitness trails on post
The Gold Standard
I am upset at the recent announcement of the closure of Heard Park and the fitness/hiking trail running through Training Area 7 from Dixie Street to 7th Armored Division Rd. If you are not familiar with the street names, this closure affects almost the entire fitness trail, and the closure will be for the entire summer, from 1 May to 15 Aug. This comes as a huge surprise and disappointment to me as I walk the trails at least 5 days a week and have depended on the easy access to nature, peace and quiet for the past 2 years.More

Wellness fair shows patrons healthier way
The Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam MWR Fitness and Wellness Fair took place May 9 at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center to provide information for a healthy lifestyle. The fair featured several booths including snacks from the commissary, a massage center, gait analysis and other activities. Patrons received advice from experts on nutrition and fitness.More

Community Showcase offers look at area businesses
The Killeen Daily Herald
Soldiers and families hoping to keep up with the latest services available at and around post recently attended Fort Hood's second annual Community Showcase. "We (will have) an exposition of the different businesses that we have here at Fort Hood through (Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation) as well as a bunch of a business they can find off post," said Shelly Damo, commercial sales manager for MWR's marketing and advertising department. "It's a good way to showcase the community and keep up-to-date as to what's going on around Fort Hood."More