ALA Executive Briefing
Oct. 7, 2011

How to prepare your distribution center for the holiday
Multichannel Merchant
VideoBriefIs your distribution center ready for holiday 2011? How about your contact center? Are your front end and back end in sync with each other? Even if you think you're ready to roll, you may not be.More

'Extreme couponing' shoppers pose loyalty test
Bloomberg News
Extreme couponing, a consumer trend spurred on by the reality TV series of the same name, may make deal-chasing U.S. shoppers less loyal to retailers from Kroger Co. to Staples Inc. In the first half of this year, U.S. consumers redeemed 1.75 billion coupons for a savings of $2 billion, according to NCH Marketing Services. That's an 18 percent increase from the same period in 2009, when packaged goods companies began stepping up discounts to spur demand, the Deerfield, Ill.- based firm said.More

Study: Frozen foods help in portion control
Packaging Digest
ConAgra Foods Inc., one of North America's leading food makers, presented research findings this week suggesting frozen meals eaten as part of a reduced-calorie eating plan helped participants learn proper portions.More

Marsh rolls out nutrition programs
Supermarket News
Marsh Supermarkets in Indianapolis said it has rolled out a set of nutritional programs for customers, including a new website and use of the Guiding Stars shelf-labeling system. The new website,, will focus on healthy eating and feature advice from dietitian Mary Snell, who joined Marsh in May as director of nutrition and wellness.More

Goodness grazing
Progressive Grocer
They're the perfect pick-me-ups, and millions of Americans reach for them each and every day. We're talking snack packs, singles, portion-controlled bags and all manner of grab-and-go goodness. Produce suppliers are introducing scores of healthful, convenient and colorful snack options with enough pizzazz to entice American consumers to put down their candy bars and salty snacks in favor of fresh food. Grocers can take advantage of the current boom of these produce-based snacks.More

Fresh ingredients and cooking skills can transform your relationship with food
The Tampa Tribune
Author Kathleen Flinn says the ability to cook even the most basic dishes is a passport to a different life. If you can walk into the produce section and pick out food that isn't in a box, you are buying freedom.More

Marketers reach out to a new demographic: Infants to 3-year-olds
Licensed characters, of course, have been plastered on packaged foods, toys and every piece of clothing and accessory imaginable for decades — some reach back a century. But over the course of the past couple of years something has shifted. Now the strategy of marketing branded goods to tots has ramped up to the point that even high-end fashion brands are jumping in.More

The Limited to launch plus-size concept
Women's Wear Daily via Beauty Wired
Long overlooked by major retailers and brands, the plus-size market finally is getting some attention. Next month, The Limited launches eloquii by The Limited, a division catering to full-figured women with designs "in the same spirit" as the main chain. "There will definitely be a common sensibility between the two brands," said Linda Heasley, chief executive officer of The Limited.More

More spending expected this Halloween
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Let's do the time warp again. Rather than give in to fear after what's been a pretty scary year, more Americans than ever are planning to party like the good old days and immerse themselves in Halloween ghoulishness, according to the National Retail Federation.More

Retailers discover useful in-store apps keep shoppers from escaping
PC Magazine
Major brick-and-mortar retailers are fighting mobile apps that push consumers online, enhancing their own mobile apps with in-store assistance. The problem, according to a panel at the GigaOM Mobilize conference in San Francisco, is that brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy, Target and others risk becoming physical showcases for goods later purchased online.More

Salads are nice, but burgers are what really sell
The Associated Press via The Salt Lake Tribune
Americans talk skinny but eat fat. No matter that first lady Michelle Obama has been on a crusade for a year and a half to slim down the country. Never mind that some restaurants have started listing calories on their menus. Forget even that we keep saying we want to eat healthy. When Americans eat out, we order burgers and fries anyway.More

Prices for food and gas soon could fall
USA Today
Consumers might catch a break on the price of gasoline and baked goods and sweets as the Thanksgiving-Christmas season approaches, because of a sudden tumble in worldwide commodity markets.More

Subway opens 32 new convenience store locations
CSNews Foodservice Retailing
Subway, a division of Doctor's Associates Inc., opened 32 locations in convenience stores throughout the world during August and September. Subway also announced it opened five new "green" locations during August and September. More

Wal-Mart, T-Mobile offer cheap prepaid plan
The Washington Post
Wal-Mart and T-Mobile recently announced they are joining up to offer a $30 per month prepaid 4G data plan. The plan, which has no annual contract, includes 5 GB of data at 4G speeds, unlimited text messages and 100 minutes of talk. After the first 100 minutes, the company will charge 10 cents per minute.More

2 warehouses with 250 jobs coming to Suffolk
The Virginian-Pilot
A vision for a massive distribution hub west of downtown Suffolk, Va., took two big steps toward reality Sept. 28. Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that Ace Hardware Corp. plans to spend $14 million and hire 75 workers to build a distribution center in the new warehouse park across Route 58 from the existing Target warehouse. A Navy spokesman also said the Navy Exchange Service Command recently signed a lease for a neighboring 350,000-square-foot distribution center.More

Official: Military spouse jobless rate 26 percent
The Pentagon's effort to build a network of companies interested in hiring military spouses is more about leveling the playing field than obtaining preference for the unemployed wives and husbands, says the Pentagon's top family policy official.More

US Army cutting nearly 50,000 soldiers
The U.S. Army plans to reduce its number of soldiers by nearly 50,000 during a five-year span, a general said. The Army Times reported Lt. Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, service personnel chief, said the reductions would begin in March. More

Installation Management Command employees enjoy a free ride to work
U.S. Army MWR
More than a dozen Installation Management Command employees ride to and from work for free in a VIA Van Pool, through the U.S. Army Mass Transit Benefit Program. "All I can say is this is the best thing since sliced bread — nope it's better than sliced bread! Love it!" said passenger Debbie Martin, an IMCOM Family and MWR programs employee. "It's less wear and tear on us, less wear and tear on our wallets and less wear and tear on the environment."More

App puts US Army Europe in mobile users' hands any time, any place
U.S. Army Europe
Are you paying U.S. taxes? Are you serving the U.S. government abroad? Are you a citizen of a European nation? Do you benefit from regional stability? Many people around the world are linked to U.S. Army Europe, and the recently released USAREUR application for mobile devices is designed to strengthen those links and keep people informed on the latest Army in Europe information, news and events. The app puts key elements of the USAREUR website in users' hands wherever they are, said Kevin Downey, USAREUR's webmaster and the creator of the app.More