ALA Executive Briefing
Aug. 23, 2013

Army, Navy target top brass, headquarters spending in latest cuts
Stars and Stripes
With a warning that "the money is gone," military leaders driven by falling defense spending are moving to cut top brass positions and slash headquarters spending. The Navy recently announced that Navy Secretary Ray Mabus had approved a plan to "reduce, eliminate or consolidate a net of 35 Navy flag officer positions" at the one-, two- and three-star ranks. The Navy said it also plans to eliminate 6 more top officer positions in the 2015 budget.More

CNO's 'navigation plan' stresses readiness, budget uncertainty
Air Force Times
The Navy's top officer released his "navigation plan" Aug. 16, which links the Navy's 2014-2018 budget proposal to its goals for the near future — and stresses the uncertainty brought about by a budget in flux.More

Lejeune health assessment needed
The Associated Press via The Daily News
The Centers for Disease Control is being asked by bipartisan lawmakers to complete a new assessment of the health status of Camp Lejeune. Lawmakers are also asking for info on whether or not people were exposed to airborne toxins after contaminated wells were closed in 1985. More

Navy changes on-base sales of alcohol
Norfolk Virginian-Pilot
The Navy's top admiral has ordered a series of changes to the way the service sells booze. Chief among them, the Navy will stop selling liquor at its minimarts and prohibit the sale at any of its stores from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.More

Onodera, McCain discuss relocation of US Marines to Guam
Kyodo News International via GlobalPost
Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera recently asked U.S. Sen. John McCain to ensure a budgetary allocation for moving some of the U.S. Marines stationed in Okinawa to Guam, as they agreed to go forward with an accord aimed at easing the base-hosting burden on the prefecture.More

US workers are grounded by deep cuts
The New York Times
Five months after gridlock in Washington triggered the deep spending cuts known as sequestration, much of the United States government is grounded. Most government travel budgets have been cut this year by 30 percent, the result of an administration directive forcing managers to make difficult policy decisions about whom to send, where to send them and for how long. The result, agency officials say, is a government that cannot conduct essential business and is embarrassing itself abroad. More

Federal court curbs appeal rights for 'sensitive' defense jobs
The Washington Post
A federal appeals court recently curbed the appeal rights of two Defense Department employees in a case that critics say will have broad implications for civil service protections.More

Procurement list, additions and deletions
This action adds products and a service to the procurement list that will be furnished by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities, and deletes services from the procurement list previously provided by such agencies.More

Vocollet maintenance
Federal Business Opportunities
The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, IT Contracting Division, Hardware Section (PL8322), 2300 East Drive, Scott AFB, IL 62225-5406, intends to issue a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial maintenance prepared in accordance with the format in Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. More

Fresh chilled pork products
Federal Business Opportunities
This Request for Information is issued in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 15.201(e). The Defense Commissary Agency is seeking potential sources and information in anticipation of a requirement to provide and deliver program buy fresh chilled pork products to store locations in the Continental United States to include Alaska and Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.More

Defense Information Systems Agency: Vocollet maintenance
The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, IT Contracting Division, Hardware Section (PL8322), 2300 East Drive, Scott AFB, IL 62225-5406, intends to issue a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial maintenance prepared in accordance with the format in Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. More

Military hardware and software maintenance sought by Defense Department
Contacto Latino
The U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency's Procurement Directorate Office, Scott Air Force Base, Ill., has issued a combined synopsis/solicitation notice (MPLSLEI0400101) for the maintenance of Volcollect hardware and software for the Defense Commissary Agency. It was posted on Aug. 20 with a response date of Aug. 27. Places of performance will be in Germany and Guam.More

Fort McPherson commissary to close Sept. 28
South Fulton Neighbor
An East Point military base grocery store, which offers thousands of active military and veterans up to 30 percent off their food bills, will close at the end of next month. Fort McPherson itself ceased operations Sept. 1, 2011, but its store, a commissary, has remained open. More

Study: Prepared foods have room for improvement
Supermarket News
Though supermarket prepared foods departments make strong impressions on customers, retailers can do more to increase purchases and better compete with restaurants, according to new research from the Chicago-based research firm Datassential.More

Consumers still seeking better burgers
Progressive Grocer
If it seems like people are eating more burgers than ever, well, they are. New research from Chicago-based Technomic reveals that 95 percent of consumers say they eat burgers at least once a month. While cravings and consumption are entrenched, there are some dynamics in burger consumption.More

Paper or digital? Grocery-store chains changing coupon policies
The Columbus Dispatch
The recent recession turned many people into coupon-clippers. But that's changed since the economy has improved, and grocery chains are taking a new look at coupons in response. The shift to digital really has more to do with manufacturers' goals than a decline in coupon-clipping.More

FDA announces public meeting on new food safety rules
The Packer
The first of three public meetings on new proposed food safety rules from the FDA is scheduled for Sept. 19-20. Covering the proposed rules on foreign supplier verification programs and accreditation of third-party auditors, the two-day meeting will be at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., according to a news release from FDA. The purpose of the meeting is to outline the proposed rules and take comments.More

The business value of curiosity
Being successful at business requires many things: courage, creativity, people skills, and so forth. However, there is one character trait whose importance is sometimes neglected: curiosity. More

DeCA realigns sales directorate
The Defense Commissary Agency announces provisional realignment of its sales directorate and the selection of Randall L. "Randy" Chandler as sales director and Tracie L. Russ as deputy sales director.More

Obama exempts military pay, personnel from cuts next year
The White House budget director recently notified Congress that President Barack Obama intends to exempt military personnel from automatic budget cuts known as sequestration again next year.More

Navy changes on-base alcohol sales
The Associated Press via The Denver Post
Until recently, sailors could go to the local gas station and buy a bottle of liquor before sunrise. But the Navy is working to stop alcohol abuse in a push reduce sexual assaults and other crimes, and the days of picking up a bottle of Kahlua along with a cup of coffee are coming to an end.More

Retailer Tuesday Morning tosses in Web-sales towel
The Wall Street Journal
Closeout retailer Tuesday Morning Corp. is making an unusual choice: It is picking bricks over clicks. In a bid to focus on its 850 physical stores, the Dallas-based deep discounter quietly shut down its online shopping site in July. The company said online sales — just 1 percent of the total — weren't a top priority amid its broader turnaround plan.More

50 years for Lands' End, CEO talks about staying relevant
The Business Journal
VideoBriefLand's End is celebrating 50 years in business. It started as a sailing outfitter in Chicago, operating as a mail-order operation filing 15 orders on a good day. Today the company is based in Dodgeville, with facilities that span more than 1.7 million square feet. Edgar Huber, CEO and president of Lands' End, says the secret is staying close to the customer, staying relevant and embracing the new age of social media.More

Macy's shoppers remain cautious
The Wall Street Journal
After reporting disappointing quarterly results and trimming its full-year earnings forecast, Macy's Inc. recently said it would boost its marketing efforts in the second half of the year to address a troubling slowdown in store traffic.More

For busy shoppers, buy-and-return the only way to stay sane
The harried mom. The bargain hunter. The plain-old indecisive shopper. For many consumers, buying what catches their eye and returning what doesn't work out isn't just a convenience but a strategy for smart shopping. "It's just easier to take things back than to go shopping most of the time," said Kimberly Alsabrook, a working mom of two children who does almost all her shopping online and often returns what she doesn't want.More

NRF issues follow-up statement on the 2015 Javits Center schedule change
National Retail Federation
The National Retail Federation recently issued the following statement from Senior Vice President Bill Thorne in response to a meeting with representatives from the Governor's office and Jacob K. Javits Center officials about the recent decision to shift the trade show and events schedule at The Jacob K. Javits Center in 2015.More

Apparel prices rise
Women's Wear Daily
Retail apparel prices rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent in July, giving retailers some pricing power for the back-to-school season, the Consumer Price Index recently reported. (Subscription required.)More

Wal-Mart turns your iPhone, iPad, or Galaxy S3 into grocery money
Many big names like Amazon offer to turn your old gadgets into cash, but now the other big name in retail — Wal-Mart — wants to take your unwanted iPhone, iPad, Galaxy S3, or other devices in exchange for gift cards that you can use right away at the company's ubiquitous stores and website. More

Grim picture of recovery in forecasts by retailers
The New York Times
A lot of Americans are still spending their money only on socks and other essentials, highlighting the disparity between younger and poorer consumers and those who are benefiting from the economic recovery. Major retailers, like Wal-Mart and Kohl's, that cater to budget-conscious customers with lower incomes recently cited sluggish sales as they decreased their annual forecasts. More

Retailers roll out big — and quirky — deals during highly competative back-to-school season
By most accounts, the 2013 back-to-school shopping period hasn't represented boom times for retailers. The National Retail Federation predicted that families with school-age children would spend an average of $635 on back-to-school purchases (clothing, tech, pencils and more), down from a high of $689 last year. More

Report: Apparel brands should promote celebrity endorsements via Twitter for best results
Luxury Daily
Three-quarters of female social media users who are more likely to use brands or products associated with celebrities have Twitter profiles and are more likely to use Twitter over other platforms as a source of inspiration, according to a new report by NetBase.More

Wal-Mart lowers full year forecast on soft Q3 sales
Chain Store Age
Wal-Mart Stores recently lowered its full year profit forecast after reporting weaker that expected second quarter U.S. same-store sales at its U.S. division and suggested global economic conditions remain challenging.More

Kohl's Q2 profit dips 4 percent, meets Street
Chains Store Age
Kohl's Corp. reported that profit for the quarter ended Aug. 3 fell 4 percent to $231 million, compared with $240 million in the year-ago period. Results were impacted by rising costs, but still met Wall Street expectations.More

Dillard's Q2 profit on the upswing
Chain Store Age
Dillard's saw net income rise to $36.5 million in the quarter ended Aug. 3, compared with $31 million in the same period last year. Revenue was flat at $1.48 billion and same-store sales edged up 1 percent, boosted by strength from ladies accessories and lingerie.More

Tuesday Morning says goodnight to e-commerce
Chain Store Age
Tuesday Morning Corp. is ceasing e-commerce operations to focus on providing in-store assortments. A statement on the retailer's website says that due to the nature of its closeout business, it will no longer sell items online but instead focus on the quality and price of assortments in its stores.More

Toys 'R' Us announces 2013 global expansion plans; 100-plus stores on tap
Chain Store Age
Toys "R" Us recently unveiled its global growth for 2013, with the planned opening of more than 100 stores, including new locations, the relocation and conversion of 14 stores to its side-by-side format, and 22 new licensed stores. The openings represent the net addition of over 900,000-square-foot of retail space to the company's store portfolio.More

US retailers to implement Bangladesh factory plan
The Wall Street Journal
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Gap Inc. and other major U.S. retailers recently meet in Chicago to start implementing a Bangladesh factory-safety plan announced last month amid criticism it lacks teeth to enforce company promises.More

Wal-Mart holds US sourcing summit
Women's Wear Daily
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. isn't giving up on its Made in America pledge, and recently hosted a U.S. Manufacturing Summit at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. (Subscription required.)More

Same-day delivery? Not so fast
Offering customers free same-day delivery has long been an elusive goal for e-tailers. Their motivation is simple: If e-tailers can give customers the near-instant gratification of buying in a store, they can eliminate one of the most powerful advantages held by their bricks-and-mortar competitors. Alas, costs and complexity have largely kept same-day delivery (defined here as delivery between sunup and sundown on a weekday) out of reach and, at best, a niche offering.More

Apparel uptick bodes well for spring
Women's Wear Daily
The apparel picture is brightening. After a lackluster summer in which retail sales were mediocre at best, leading some major retailers to bring down overall projections for the year, customers are slowly starting to return to the stores. (Subscription required.)More

Retailers: Unsteady recovery worries US customers
Reuters via Hürriyet Daily News
From Wal-Mart Stores and Gap to Macy's and McDonald's, chains that cater to middle- and lower-income Americans say they are feeling the pinch of an uneven economic recovery. A host of retailers have reported tepid sales lately, highlighting the stress that consumers are feeling because of higher payroll taxes, expensive gasoline and a slow job market four years after the U.S. economy started to rebound.More

Let your customers decide how much is too much
By Harry J. Friedman
You've established a rapport with your customer, you've asked plenty of good probing questions and now it's time for a demonstration. It's time to show the customer merchandise that is most likely to satisfy their wants and needs. Let's say there's been no conversation about price. You were able to get a pretty good idea of what the customer was looking for, but they didn't say they were on a tight budget — and they didn't say they weren't. So which items do you show when you have a vast selection from which to choose?More

Pinterest is becoming a powerful e-commerce, brick-n-mortar commerce engine
Social Media Today
When the social network of Pinterest first started in March of 2010, people loved it as a visual place to create their holiday "wish-list" boards. They would create boards of stuff they liked online and would never know where it would lead to. Well, these wish-lists are now becoming a true reality, as Pinterest is becoming both a true e-commerce and brick-n-mortar player. More

Design thinking enhances the customer experience
Convenience Store News
Design thinking is a methodology used to solve problems where the approach is based on the goal instead of the problem. Charles Burnette, a design educator, described design thinking as "a process of creative and critical thinking that allows information and ideas to be organized, decisions to be made, situations to be improved and knowledge to be gained." For convenience store retailers, this model requires understanding how customers experience the space and the goals they have for their shopping experiences.More

The Exchange among the 'Best of the Best,' according to US Veterans Magazine
Public Affairs
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has been recognized by U.S. Veterans Magazine for its part in putting those who have helped protect American freedoms back to work. The Exchange is among the organizations named to the publication's 2013 Best of the Best list, making the cut in the "Top Veteran-Friendly Companies," "Top Supplier Diversity Programs" and "Top Government and Law Enforcement Agencies" categories.More

Soldiers brand their future with resume ink
U.S. Army
A national business association launched a new personal branding search engine in July to help transitioning Soldiers catapult their career search. The U.S. Army Installation Management Command has teamed up with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Hiring Our Heroes program that has opened its online Web tool for employers to search the database of service member resumes — at no cost. More

Navy changes on-base alcohol sales
The Associated Press via News Tribune
Until recently, sailors could go to the local gas station and buy a bottle of liquor before sunrise. But the Navy is working to stop alcohol abuse in a push reduce sexual assaults and other crimes, and the days of picking up a bottle of Kahlua along with a cup of coffee are coming to an end.More

Navy issues rules to limit sale of alcohol
Akron News Now
The Navy has issued a series of new rules limiting the sale of alcohol as a part of its efforts to reduce the number of alcohol-related criminal offenses. The changes include: stopping the sale of liquor at its mini marts; banning the sale of alcohol at any of its stores between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.; and only displaying alcohol in the back of stores, the Washington Post reports.More

Navy bans alcohol sale on bases to curb drink-related crimes
Capitalbay Information Portal
Sales of liquor are to be restricted on Navy bases to try to reduce sexual assaults and other crimes, the leading Admiral has said. Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert has ordered a series of changes to the way alcohol is sold on bases, including a ban on sales in its mini marts and restricted selling times at other stores. "It's not going to fix everything, but it is a real step in the right direction,"said David Jernigan, Johns Hopkins University's director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.More

Navy issues rules to limit alcohol sales
The Navy has issued a series of new rules limiting the sale of alcohol as a part of its efforts to reduce the number of alcohol-related criminal offenses. The Navy hopes the ban will contribute to its efforts to improve alcohol education and awareness.More