ALA Executive Briefing
Oct. 24, 2014

1.7 percent COLA increase starts in January
Military Times
Millions of older Americans who rely on federal benefits will get a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly payments next year, the government announced recently. It's the third year in a row the increase will be less than 2 percent.More

Despite DOD budget cuts, the military industrial complex is alive and well
Task and Purpose
The military may be in the process of tightening its belt, but there are still billions of dollars to be made from the Department of Defense, and the Association of the United States Army's annual three-day exposition proves it.More

Fewer veterans running for congressional office
Military Times
The number of veterans in Congress has been steadily dropping in recent election cycles, but the legislative branch's meager military credentials could take a major hit this year.More

2015 will mean more 15-year retirements for NCOs, officers
Army Times
The 15-year early retirement option will be available to certain categories of Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve officers, warrant officers and noncommissioned officers who are selected for involuntary separations because of promotion passovers and drawdown-related force management boards that meet in fiscal 2015.More

Dunford takes command of the Corps, issues 1st order to Marines
Marine Corps Times
The 36th commandant's first order to the Marine Corps as he took command was a simple one: Continue to march. Gen. Joe Dunford, 58, became commandant of the Marine Corps at Marine Barracks Washington with an array of VIPs in attendance.More

These federal contractors are hiring vets now
Military Times
Companies that do business with the federal government employ a big chunk of the U.S. workforce — and if you're a veteran looking to join their ranks, federal law requires that they give you a leg up. How can you take advantage? The local One-Stop Career Center should be one of your first stops, according to government and private-sector officials.More

DOD revisits nonprofit policies
Military Times
The military's nonprofit policies differ at each base because of security concerns, according to officials who say they are working to make the policies more consistent. Nonprofits seeking to provide services to troops sometimes face unnecessary logistical and financial hurdles, officials say. During last week's AUSA Family Forums, Army Secretary John McHugh said that this is not just an Army issue, and noted that DoD is looking at it across the services. Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler said officials need to relook at the big picture of how they partner with volunteer and military service organizations in the future, noting that about 65 percent of families live off installations.More

Feds Feed Families program closes out record-breaking tear
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
Defense Department and other federal employees nationwide met and exceeded goals to answer the call and assist food-insecure households through this year's "Feds Feed Families" food drive. DoD collected nearly 3.2 million pounds of food items for needy families from June 1 to Sept. 30. DoD has been involved in the campaign since 2009 with commissaries serving as collection points for the campaign. Last year, commissaries collected almost 740,000 pounds, or 39 percent of the Department of Defense's total, of items for local food banks. More

Coalition valued associates gear up for ALA Annual Convention
LtGen Jack Klimp, President and CEO for the National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS) will address the continuing “Assault on Military Benefits” at next week's ALA Annual Convention. The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Association of the United States Army (AUSA), and the National Military Family Association will participate in a Coalition valued associates panel discussion regarding their ongoing efforts to promote and protect military resale benefits, eliminate sequestration and prepare for future budget battles.More

Federal Business Opportunities
DeCA Facility and Equipment Maintenance
This is a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial items prepared in accordance with the format in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 12.603, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. This announcement constitutes the only solicitation; proposals are being requested and a written solicitation will not be issued. More

Consumables shopping shifts to smaller formats vs. grocery
Weaker promotional deals and a growing disinterest among women in the millennial age group are among the reasons for sluggish sales of consumable products, such as fruit juice, carbonated beverages, yogurt and ice cream, according to the second Consumer Value Study of Consumables conducted and sponsored by TABS Group in conjunction with the Promotion Optimization Institute.More

In-store technology provides deals for shoppers
PR Newswire via Grocery Retail Online
Consumers will have the opportunity to receive deals and be rewarded for loyalty while they're shopping, according to The Lempert Report Innovation Series, a weekly video series featuring innovation in the food world. More

Danone shaking up yogurt category
Food Business News (free registration required)
Recent launches from Danone, include Dannon Creamery, a line of dairy desserts made with Greek yogurt and topped with fruit sauces.More

FDA rules: What can consumers expect?
Food safety specialists say the FDA is going through the largest overhaul of food safety regulations in 70 years. The changes are based on thousands of comments from farmers and consumers. More

New Wal-Mart US CEO Foran putting focus on fresh
Supermarket News (free registration required)
In his first public remarks since taking charge of Wal-Mart Stores' U.S. business, Greg Foran said the retailer could turn around flat sales in part by "becoming really good shopkeepers." Foran, who replaced Bill Simon as Wal-Mart's U.S. CEO in August, demonstrated a merchant's mindset in remarks during Wal-Mart's annual investor day meetings. More

New commissary opens in southwestern Pennsylvania
The Associated Press via Williamsport Sun-Gazette
A new commissary has opened to serve about 170,000 active, retired and reserve military members and their families within a 100-mile radius of Pittsburgh.More

Millennials, Hispanics and coffee: IRI picks rising stars in CPG marketplace
Food Navigator-USA
Consumers — and specific groups of consumers — are changing how, when and where they shop, with the influence of millennials and Hispanics set to grow over the next decade, says a new report from IRI.More

New report: Global frozen food market analysis
ReleaseWire via Digital Journal
Persistence Market Research has released a new report, "Frozen Food Market: Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2020," examining the worldwide industry and the factors that will influence it in the coming years. More

Organic's appeal makes WhiteWave a target
General Mills Inc. just stocked up on organic mac and cheese. Almond milk and vegan crackers may be next on hungry acquirers' lists. More

How ConAgra sets the table for climate resilience
Is there an American who hasn't tried Chef Boyardee's ravioli? Hunt's tomato sauce? Orville Redenbacher's popcorn? Probably not. And that's why it's so important that ConAgra Foods, the $16 billion, Omaha, Nebraska-based company that owns the brands, ensure it keeps producing and providing enough healthy, sustainable-sourced food — without stoking climate change.More

GMA: CPGs making healthier foods available,
Supermarket News
To meet changing consumer demand, the nation's CPG companies have marketed more than 30,000 healthier products since 2002, including 10,000 in the last four years alone, according to a report from the Grocery Manufacturers Association. More

Waitrose boss: Supermarkets are 20 years out of date
The Telegraph
The "big four" grocery retailers are running supermarkets that are 20 years out of date, the boss of Waitrose has said. Mark Price said that changes in British shopping habits are "far more fundamental than the discounters," which have grabbed shoppers from Tesco, Sainburys, Asda and Morrisons. More

NEXCOM breaks ground for headquarters building expansion

The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) held a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 21 for a 33,000 sq. ft. addition to its headquarters building located in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The $15 million nonappropriated fund construction project is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2016.

"When NEXCOM moved into its headquarters building in 1993, we had 380 associates," said Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi (Ret), NEXCOM's Chief Executive Officer. "Today, there are almost 1,000 NEXCOM associates in Hampton Roads and more than half work in our headquarters building."

The new addition allows NEXCOM to replace approximately 9,000 sq. ft. of aging trailers that had been in use for the last 10 years, create much needed conference and planogram rooms and address merchandising and information technology personnel space deficiencies. It also brings 125 NEXCOM associates from its Human Resources and Loss Prevention/Safety departments as well as the Navy Lodge Program into the headquarters building from other Hampton Roads office locations.

"This is the first step necessary in order to move our headquarters associates from leased space into Navy-owned space," said Bianchi. "This new addition will help us consolidate and align key headquarter codes for even greater command efficiency."

Congressman Scott Rigell, representative of Virginia's 2nd District, praised NEXCOM for the work it does to support military members and their families. "I respect the great work you are doing and the quality of life you offer to your customers," said Rigell. "As a businessman in a season of public service, I know that the quality of your surroundings affects the creativity and quality of work of your associates. This new building addition will definitely add to the quality of work you provide. I look forward to the opening of your new facility."

Will Sessoms, Virginia Beach Mayor, participated in the groundbreaking ceremony. "The work provided by NEXCOM is valued and appreciated by all military commands and especially military families," said Sessoms. "Your dedication and commitment to service are truly unmatched. NEXCOM gives military members and their families shopping experiences and prices that are so competitive that you are the envy of retailers everywhere."More

Exciting new source of skilled workers on its way: Vets with national Certified Logistics Technician certification

The FY14 National Defense Act Authorization requires that all the Armed Services offer active duty service members the opportunity to secure industry-recognized, nationally portable civilian certifications before they leave the service to facilitate a rapid transition to good paying jobs in the private sector. The leading civilian credential that the Army, Marines and Air Force are now offering to meet that requirement is the CLT being offered by the nationwide Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC).

An industry-led, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, MSSC is the nation's leading civilian certification organization for front-line work in all sectors of manufacturing and supply chain logistics. The MSSC is now reaching out to logistics companies nationwide to encourage them to take advantage of this remarkable new program, funded by the Armed Services, and hire these CLT-credentialed vets just as soon as they leave the service. They are work-ready!

To learn more about this opportunity to meet your company's needs for a higher skilled front-line workforce, network at the ALA Conference with Leo Reddy, CEO, and Neil Reddy, executive director, MSSC. You can also contact Neil directly at and check More

ALA Annual Convention: Meet Jack Shaw and learn about the omnichannel

Jack Shaw has been a technology futurist for more than 30 years, helping others to understand the strategic implications of emerging technologies. He's the author of three books, numerous white papers and has delivered more than 1,000 paid keynote addresses and executive presentations in more than 20 countries.

He was voted one of the world's Top 5 Technology Futurist Speakers for 2014 by more than 12,000 meetings planners, executives and conference attendees — the only technology futurist among the overall top five speakers in votes.

Shaw will present his omnichannel presentation Oct. 28 at the ALA National Convention in Washington, D.C. More

US retail sales give cautionary sign on consumer demand
U.S. retail sales declined in September even when factoring out weakness at auto dealers and gasoline stations, providing a surprisingly cautionary sign for the strength of consumer demand.More

UGA: Retail job wages 'highly competitive' with other industries
Atlanta Business Chronicle
Federal government data about retail pay is "skewed significantly," according to a new study from The University of Georgia and the National Retail Federation.More

Wal-Mart, Target, Coke, Pepsi among top 10 brands that millennials love
The Shelby Report
Wal-Mart, Target, Coca-Cola and Pepsi are among the top 10 most beloved brands of millennials, according to the 2015 Top 50 Millennial Brand Ranking Report released by Moosylvania, an independent digital advertising agency. More

Wal-Mart cuts its sales forecast as holiday hopes darken
The New York Times
Ahead of what is expected to be a tough holiday season, Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, cut its annual sales growth forecast recently and announced that it would sharply slow openings of its superstores in the United States next year.More

Holiday shoppers plan higher spending
USA Today
Holiday shoppers will spend more on average this year while discounts remain the No. 1 factor influencing purchases, according to a recent National Retail Federation survey.More

Holiday high: Consumer enthusiasm for Black Friday strongest in 8 years
The International Council of Shopping Centers says it expects holiday spending to gain 4 percent this year, in line with previous forecasts from the National Retail Federation and Deloitte. And new research from Accenture, which affirms that buoyancy in consumer confidence, says people can't wait to get out there and shop, with consumer interest in Black Friday retail events at the highest level in eight years.More

Kantar: Dollar General has the lowest prices
According to a new study by Kantar Retail, which assessed the lowest price available on 21 categories across the edible grocery, nonedible grocery and health and beauty aids segments, Dollar General took the crown for a third year in a row.More

Maurices plans 16 new stores in time for holidays
Chain Store Age
Maurices is ramping up its store openings in time for the holiday season with plans to open 16 new stores. These expansions will give the girls' apparel retailer a total of 938 locations, advancing it toward its goal of having more than 1,300 stores in the United States and Canada. More

Macy's to open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day
Macy's recently announced that it will open the doors to its full-line department stores at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, two hours earlier than last year. More

How much longer can the traditional store remain shoppers' fave?
Thanks to digital devices, mobile in particular, the path to purchase starts long before consumers step foot in-store. Still, brick-and-mortar isn't dead, as evidenced by a June 2014 study by ORC International for Capgemini. Among digital shoppers worldwide, 72 percent said the traditional store experience was important when making a purchase.More

Women are one of the sporting-goods industry's biggest-growing markets — and one of its most ignored
The Washington Post
When 12-year-old McKenna Peterson opened her new Dick's Sporting Goods basketball catalog recently, the Arizona basketball player and superfan was frustrated to find a glaring misstep: The only girl in the catalog's pages wasn't actually playing basketball — she was sitting in the stands.More

Survey: 2 in 3 Americans limit spending
Chain Store Age
Two-thirds of Americans are limiting how much they spend each month. According to a new report, of those limiting their monthly spending, 32 percent cite stagnant income as the main reason and 29 percent cite the need to save more. More

Core-Mark, U.S. Oil open GAIN Clean Fuel station
Core-Mark Holding Company Inc., one of the largest marketers of fresh and broad-line supply solutions to the retail convenience store industry in North America, announced with U.S. Oil the grand opening of the first new GAIN Clean Fuel station in Aurora, Colorado.More

Industry view: Get ready to innovate
Delivering solutions for people's immediate needs built our industry. At one time offering gasoline and cigarettes, along with some minimal grocery staples, won a place in our customers' hearts. We sealed the deal with extended hours and multiple locations. However, today's customers have higher expectations and a more sophisticated palate. More

Keeping up with the C-store Joneses
There is nothing new about the competitive retail environment. What is new is exactly who that competition is. With growing channels, such as big-box, drug and dollar stores trying to take a bite out of the convenience store pie, how retailers approach these new challenges is an issue that is always top of mind.More

NACS show workshop asks: 'Grow or go?'
The prices that buyers are paying currently for good convenience store sites are edging toward all-time highs of eight, nine and 10 times EBITDA. A big part of that has been the move to a master limited partnership structure that several retailers have accessed recently to gain tax and financial advantages.More

Slideshow: 2014 NACS show foodservice beat
Local sourcing, environmental sustainability, nutrition and ethnic cuisine: such are the leading trends driving the greater foodservice industry, according to Annika Stensson, senior manager of research communications for the National Restaurant Association and speaker during the "State of the Plate" education session at the recent NACS Show.More

Fueling around with consumers' price perceptions
With 160 million transactions a day and one-half of the U.S. population at a convenience store each day, it seems like knowing consumer attitudes about fuel would be fairly easy. But determining their true motivations is a science, said presenters at a 2014 NACS Show educational session on consumer perceptions at the pump, and reveals several indicators.More

Sheetz joins partnership for a Healthier America
Convenience store retailer Sheetz Inc. has joined the Partnership for a Healthier America and has made a two-year commitment to deliver more nutritious options across its 475 convenience stores, the organization has announced.More

Understanding the increasingly complex coffee consumer
"I'm wired," Todd Mackey, quality control coordinator and trainer for Coffee Solutions Inc. told retailers attending the "Destination Coffee: Baristas Wanted" educational session at the 2014 NACS Show in Las Vegas. "And not just because of the coffee!"More

TD Industries energy solutions group awarded energy monitoring contract for AAFES
Business Wire via Spoke
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service has awarded a contract to TD Industries for the implementation of a pilot program to monitor and report on electricity use in AAFES stores in the U.S. and abroad. More