ALA Executive Briefing
Aug. 7, 2015

Iraq war vet nominated for Army undersecretary job
Military Times
The first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress has been tapped by the White House to serve as the new Under Secretary of the Army.More

Senate finalizes Joint Chiefs overhaul
Military Times
The Senate confirmed the top new military leaders for the Army, Navy and Marine Corps, completing a summer overhaul of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.More

How Pentagon war fund became a budget buster Washington can't resist
The number of U.S. troops deployed in battle zones is at its lowest level since before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Still, Congress has authorized a 38 percent increase in the war budget over last year.More

Report: US Defense firms ramp up spending on lobbying
Defense News
The defense industry is stepping up its lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to get Congress to increase defense spending, according to a report.More

House adjourns for 5-week recess
The Hill
Summer break is now officially underway for the House, with lawmakers expected to be out of Washington, D.C., until September. Legislation to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the 2016 defense authorization didn't make it to the floor before the August break. Autumn is already shaping up to be an intense season for lawmakers when they return to session after Labor Day.More

Visit your elected officials during August recess!
Save Our Benefit
During the month of August, Congress is on recess and most elected officials return to their home districts to meet with constituents. We encourage you to take this opportunity to visit your Senators and Representatives at their home offices, during town hall meetings, or information sharing events. When you speak to them, ask them to: Support the House version of the Defense Bill, which protects critical commissary funding; Reject the Senate version of the Defense Bill, which includes language that would be detrimental to the commissary benefit and transfers operating costs to military patrons. More

Congress bails out the VA, helping avoid furloughs
Government Executive
The Senate approved legislation by a vote of 91-4 that would give the Veterans Affairs Department budget flexibility to avoid closing hospitals this summer. Because of the impending congressional recess, the Senate was forced to take up the House's stop-gap bill to avoid shutting down infrastructure projects and also to fix the VA budget problem.More

New body fat rules, big changes to Navy BCA
Navy Times
The Navy is easing up on its body fat standards and looking more closely at how it measures health overall. "We like to speak of a culture of fitness, but we really haven't implemented a culture of fitness across the Navy. Fitness should truly be about being healthy and mission readiness," said chief of naval personnel Vice Adm. Bill Moran. Although it will be harder to fail the body composition assessment under the new rules, sailors will get only two failures instead of three before they are booted. More

Carter: Future force depends on military child education
U.S. Department of Defense
Defense Secretary Ash Carter thanked military children for their sacrifices and championed a family-focused approach to educational pathways for them and their service member parents. To maintain its advantage, the U.S. military must remain an attractive, inviting, supportive place for those who serve and for families of all kinds, the defense secretary said. Given the abundance of career path choices the Defense Department must not take for granted that military children are twice as likely to become service members as other children or that service members are more inclined to recommend uniformed service to their children. More

Here's what veterans want in their civilian careers
U.S. News & World Report
Savvy employers know that military veterans often hold the solution to their continuing struggle to attract and retain high-quality talent. They understand that military-experienced personnel possess skills, attitudes and abilities beyond those of most people who have not served. Thus, veterans can add disproportionate value to any team or organization. But as veteran unemployment drops to one of the lowest levels in years (now 4.4 percent), hiring managers are finding themselves competing aggressively for this worthy talent pool. More

Where grocery stores are rare, service is rarefied
The Wall Street Journal
Some upscale neighborhoods have limited options for grocery shopping, but the few existing supermarkets offer homeowners chic choices and service.More

Fresh Del Monte capitalizing on consumer trends
Food Business News
Rising demand for healthy, convenient snacks is benefiting Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., which reported higher earnings and sales in the recent quarter despite unfavorable exchange rates and problematic weather in certain growing regions that dampened results.More

Starbucks-owned evolution fresh yogurts in grocery stores
Evolution Fresh Fruit on the Bottom Greek Yogurts, Inspired by Dannon, are now available at thousands of grocery stores nationwide. These yogurts were created by Dannon, the leading maker of yogurt in the U.S., and Starbucks-owned Evolution Fresh, a market leader in cold-pressed, High Pressure Processed juice. More

Survey: Consumers seek convenience, health in deli, bakery
Supermarket News
American consumers are looking for time-saving, healthy products in the deli, bakery and dairy, according to a new survey commissioned by PLMA. More

Supervalu PL to source 100 percent cage-free eggs
Supermarket News
Supervalu announced plans to source only cage-free eggs for its Wild Harvest brand by the end of 2015. More

Consumer attitudes on sweeteners changing
Food Business News
Trends in wellness and awareness of natural and artificial sweeteners are affecting consumer attitudes, which often are influenced by headlines, said Matt Wilson, manager of global consumer insights at General Mills.More

Drowning in data: Challenges facing the modern day retailer
Progressive Grocer
Working in the world of retail, it's challenging to keep up with constantly changing shopping habits, effectively managing customer data and choosing the right engagement platforms. As an IT executive, you may ask if clients' goals and objectives are aligned with their customers' expectations. More

Grocery stores aren't always the ideal anchor tenants
RE Journals
Joe Parrott, a senior vice president of retail services at CBRE's Bannockburn, Illinois, office, has long studied the performance of retail anchors. In Parrott's most recent report, he found that retail anchor rents in the Chicago market have surged during the past year, with average asking rents growing more than 20 percent.More

All Exchange toy vendors
Last year we implemented a NEW toy strategy that had a significant positive impact on our 2014 toy sales.

2014 ended with Toy Sales up 4.9 percent above plan. Year-to-date, our sales are up 2.9 percent ahead of last year. What we have done working with you, our vendors, have been and continue to be successful.

Click "Read More" to continue reading the report. More

NEX gas stations to use prepay Aug. 1
Starting Aug. 1, all Navy Exchange gas locations will be utilizing a prepay system for all cash and check payments. Dispensers will not be activated until an authorized patron has their cash or check payment completely processed, according to the NEX. Credit card and Military Star Card payments will still be accepted at the pump in normal fashion. This is a standard practice that is currently utilized by most gas station businesses, according to the NEX.More

Lands' End CEO on her post-Sears plan: 'I am here to move the needle'
In an exclusive interview, new CEO Federica Marchionni lays out her plan to revive the brand after the Sears spin-off. More

Analyst: Out with luxury retail, in with off-price
Retailers specializing in off-price merchandise are positioned to take advantage of prevailing trends as investors shun fashion risk and look for quality, Cowen & Co.'s Oliver Chen said. More

Wal-Mart leads 2015 Top 25 Global Retailers
Supermarket News
A shifting focus toward smaller retail formats and the strong U.S. dollar influenced Planet Retail's list of the Top 25 Global Retailers, on which Wal-Mart, Costco and Carrefour took the top three spots, respectively. More

They came, they saw but did they shop? At Costco, Dollar Stores, they did
Advertising Age
Costco shoppers spend 149 percent more per visit than at the average retailer, and dollar store shoppers are around 30 percent more likely to make a purchase than when visiting other retailers. More

Gap has a new strategy to win back customers
Business Insider
Gap is trying to win back straying customers with a new ad campaign. The retailer, famously known for celebrity-driven ad campaigns, has replaced famous people with models in its fall-winter 2015 ads, Fashion Gone Rogue reports. More

In-store experience evolves with customer expectations
Chain Store Age
Customer expectations of the store have changed dramatically in the last few years as constant connectivity has changed the way consumers live their lives. Johann Wrede, senior director of solution marketing for SAP, recently discussed the evolution of the in-store experience with Chain Store Age.More

1 year later: Where Wal-Mart, Target stand
Change doesn't come easy — particularly when you're trying to move the needle at a company that rakes in hundreds of billions in annual sales. Still, when new CEOs took over at two of the country's largest retailers within a three-day time span last year, experts knew major changes were in store for the industry. More

Wal-Mart plans 2 small format stores in St. Louis
St. Louis Business Journal
Wal-Mart plans to open two of its small-format concepts, called Neighborhood Market Stores, in St. Charles County, Missouri. The Neighborhood Market Stores are designed to give customers quick access to fresh produce, groceries, pharmacy and other products typically found in a larger Wal-Mart.More

ABA battles sugary-drink warning, advertising ban
Citing the First Amendment, the American Beverage Association has joined forces with two other groups to fight an effort by San Francisco to require health warnings on advertisements for sugar-sweetened beverages.More

7-Eleven OK opening larger C-stores
Independent convenience-store chain 7-Eleven Stores of Oklahoma is rolling out new, larger stores. The first of the company's new 7-Eleven-branded locations opened in mid-July in Oklahoma City, reported The Oklahoman.More

Overtime proposal could cost retail, restaurants $8.4 billion a year
The National Retail Federation told Congress that the U.S. Department of Labor's proposal to expand overtime would limit career opportunities for workers, and released updated research showing that the plan could cost retailers hundreds of millions of dollars in administrative costs even if most workers see no increase in take-home pay.More

Benefits of lower gas prices diminishing?
Lower retail gasoline prices led to increased foot traffic and larger basket size in convenience stores during the second quarter of 2015, according to a survey of C-store retailers.More

New Convenience Store Roundup for June 2015
This edition of New Convenience-Store Roundup features new convenience-store openings, sales, acquisitions and store closings with listings for the month of June 2015.More

ACS marks 50 years of military life enhancement
Fort Hood Sentinel
"ACS is a group of professionals dedicated to relieving some of the burden our soldiers and their families carry every day," said Stephanie Hoehne, the G9 Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation director for the U.S. Army Installation Management Command. In July, the program celebrated its 50th birthday. More

AFTB app provides new knowledge-delivery tool
Dothan Eagle
Fort Rucker's knowledge-level Army Family Team Building class challenges spouses to Get R.E.A.L., but a newly-developed application provides the same usually information conveniently at their fingertips. More

Boston Market brings soldiers a taste of home
Restaurant News Release
When our nation's soldiers leave home to serve their country, it's hard to say goodbye to time spent with family and friends over warm, home style-cooked meals. In an effort to bring a taste of home to our service members, Boston Market has teamed up with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service to open restaurants on military bases across the country.More