ALA Executive Briefing
Nov. 23, 2012

Small North Virginia defense contractors' pain starting
The Washington Post via Early Bird
The threat of dramatic federal spending cuts at the start of next year is already taking a toll on small defense contractors, who say they've been grappling for months with a major slowdown in the awarding of contracts and steeper competition from large firms.More

Petraeus scandal puts 4-star general lifestyle under scrutiny
The Washington Post
Of the many facts that have come to light in the scandal involving former CIA director David H. Petraeus, among the most curious was that during his days as a four-star general, he was once escorted by 28 police motorcycles as he traveled from his Central Command headquarters in Tampa to socialite Jill Kelley's mansion. Although most of his trips did not involve a presidential-size convoy, the scandal has prompted new scrutiny of the imperial trappings that come with a senior general's lifestyle.More

New campaign encourages companies to hire vets
Army Times
Evidence that employers are reluctant to hire veterans due to their potential physical and psychological injuries has prompted the Army to launch a new effort to educate businesses and encourage them to hire former service members.More

Veterans' knowledge of benefits limited
The Miami Herald via Early Bird
More than half of America's veterans say they have little or no understanding of the benefits due them, despite efforts over recent years to match returning soldiers with the help and services they need.More

Round Table discussion on DeCA's requirement for Grocery Store Resale Inventory Services
Federal Business Opportunities
The Defense Commissary Agency will hold a Round Table discussion on DeCA's requirement for Grocery Store Resale Inventory Services, on Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 beginning at 8 a.m. until afternoon, at the DeCA Headquarters, 1300 E Avenue, Fort Lee, Va., 23801-1800. The objective of the meeting is to discuss industry suggestions, questions, concerns and best practices regarding Grocery Store Resale Inventory Services. All interested small business concerns are invited to attend.More

Fats and bones removal service
Federal Business Opportunities
Fats and bones removal service at Albany, Arnold, Fort Campbell, Fort Knox, Fort Stewart, Hunter, Jacksonville, Kings Bay, MacDill, Mayport, Memphis, Meridian, New Orleans, Robins, Seymour Johnson, Andrews, Eglin, Patrick, Camp Pendleton, Edwards, Imperial Beach, March, McClellan, Miramar, Twentynine Palms, Offutt, Fort Worth, Davis-Monthan and Fort Huachuca commissaries. The period of performance will be for a base period of Feb. 1, 2013, through Jan. 31, 2014, and will include four 1-year option periods that may extend performance through Jan. 31, 2018.More

Kroger launches military recruiting initiative
The Kroger Co. announced a renewed commitment to hiring veterans of the United States Armed Forces. The company is encouraging military veterans seeking employment to visit to learn more and find links to apply for a job.More

A magical paper prevents your food from rotting
Fast Company
We've all done it: We come home from the grocery store with armfuls of fresh fruits and veggies, only to sadly throw out whatever's wilting in the crisper a week later. Or we excitedly collect our produce box from the local CSA, then suffer a massive anxiety attack while trying to eat everything before it goes bad. In countries where refrigeration is scarce, the problem of how to keep the available produce fresh from farm to fork is obviously much, much worse. All in all, spoilage contributes to about a third of the global food supply going to waste each year, stuffing landfills while leaving hungry mouths empty.More

Supermarkets deck the halls with digital offers
Supermarket News
It's that time of year again, when projections of rapid growth in online holiday sales spill out like toys from an overstuffed Santa sack. About a quarter of all holiday shoppers will spend more via the Internet this year than they will in retail stores. Where do supermarkets fit into all this year-end cyber-hype? Although few observers seem to believe that retail sales of broccoli and stuffing will ever migrate completely to the e-commerce model, it is interesting to see more and more supermarkets embracing what is perhaps an even bigger online opportunity than e-tail sales: e-marketing.More

Ocean Spray hails cranberry's whole-body health benefits
Progressive Grocer
This holiday season, the Ocean Spray cooperative reminds Americans that cranberries not only taste good but, more importantly, are good for them. Through an exclusive online video, Ocean Spray's CEO Randy Papadellis and the brand's comical grower duo banter about the berry's whole-body health benefits. More

Drought: Food prices poised to rise
The Christian Science Monitor
The great drought of 2012 has run its course on America's farms. Grain producers have harvested shriveled corn and soybean crops. Livestock producers are cutting back herds to avoid higher feed prices. But the drought's impact on supermarket store shelves is just about to hit. Consumers can expect to start seeing the effects near the end of the year in the meat case and dairy section, spreading to the rest of the grocery store by mid-2013. The price effects are widespread because the dry spell hit crops fundamental to America's food supply.More

Robins Air Force Base Exchange celebrates grand re-opening
The shopping mall of Robins Air Force Base, otherwise known as the Base Exchange, recently celebrated its grand re-opening. Work began on the stores and restaurants last May and is now complete, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Renovations included face-lifts to existing stores and a few new restaurants for diners. More

NRF report: Sandy and fiscal cliff send October retail sales downward
Chain Store Age
The National Retail Federation recently said that, for the first time in three months, retail sales ticked down slightly as consumers cooled discretionary spending in the face of inclement weather and uncertainty in Washington. More

NRF urges Washington to fix fiscal cliff before Black Friday
Chain Store Age
The National Retail Federation recently urged President Barack Obama and Congress to come up with a plan to avoid the "fiscal cliff" by Thanksgiving, saying uncertainty over the pending combination of tax hikes and spending cuts threatens consumer confidence during the holiday shopping season that begins on Black Friday.More

Gift card spending to reach record $28.79 billion
Chain Store Age
The National Retail Federation's 2012 holiday consumer spending survey conducted by BIGinsight showed that 81.1 percent of shoppers will purchase at least one gift card and will spend an average of $156.86 on gift cards, the highest amount in the survey's 10-year history. Total spending on gift cards will reach $28.79 billion.More

Best Buy's turnaround plan models unlikely set of retailers
The Wall Street Journal
Best Buy Co. Chief Executive Hubert Joly, now gearing up for the holiday shopping season, is tired of slumping sales that have prompted claims the world's biggest consumer electronics retailer by sales is on death's door. His response: Embark on a retail reinvention of the Richfield, Minn., chain that is in the vein of earlier turnarounds at home-improvement retailer Home Depot Inc and Macy's Inc. (Subscription required.)More

Stores bring Black Friday to the Web
The Wall Street Journal
As retailers gear up for the traditional shop-fest known as Black Friday, they are focusing on the mobs that line up outside stores and — increasingly — on the masses that shop online from home. (Subscription required.)More

Holiday price matching wars: If you can't beat 'em, match 'em Blog
Price matching announcements from a number of multichannel retailers are getting quite a bit of attention this holiday season from consumers and press alike. Target, Best Buy, Wal-mart and Toys R Us are just a few of the retailers making headlines with their holiday-specific price matching strategies this year.More

NRF: Up to 147 million shoppers to visit stores, shop online Black Friday weekend
National Retail Federation
Not since 2007 has Thanksgiving come this early, but the calendar creep won't keep millions of eager holiday shoppers from visiting their favorite stores and websites over Black Friday weekend. According to a preliminary Black Friday shopping survey, up to 147 million people plan to shop Black Friday weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), a slight decrease from the 152 million who planned to do so last year. Specifically, 71 million said they would shop and another 76 million said they would wait and see what retailers have in-store that weekend.More

SOCOM secrets and the helpful SEALs
Strategy Page
The U.S. Navy made public the recent official reprimand (the lowest level of official punishment) of seven SEALs for revealing classified information about their equipment and procedures to makers of a video game. As it was explained to the media, these reprimands could be career ending events for the seven SEALs. Not likely, when the military is short of highly trained operatives like this and offer them bonuses of over $100,000 to sign up for a few more years.More

Exchange spreads holiday cheer with industry-leading return policy
Nearly 20 percent of Americans will return at least one holiday gift item this holiday season, according to Lavi Industries, a provider of public guidance. To take the stress and confusion out of the return process, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has extended the terms of its hassle-free return policy for the holidays.More

Layaway: Bygone gimmick or modern day marvel?
While several major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Kmart and Toys R Us, have lowered or eliminated their layaway fees in efforts to spur holiday shopping, new insights from the BIGinsight™ November survey of more than 9,000 consumers reveal that this tactic doesn't seem to be leading to a rise in this place-it-on-hold-and-pay-over-time purchase behavior. Just over one in ten holiday shoppers (12.3 percent) indicates they are using or planning to use layaway when shopping for gifts this season, relatively unchanged from one year ago (12.7 percent).More

The 9 most successful retail stores in the USA
USA Today
Apple has the most successful retail stores by a wide margin. According to RetailSails, a retail and consumer goods consulting firm, the tech giant's 372 worldwide locations sold goods at a rate of more than $6,000 per square foot of floor space in the past 12 months. The average store of the next most successful company in the United States, Tiffany & Co., sold less than half that per square foot.More

Traditional, online retailers fight for holiday dollars
Stores are hoping the spending trend this year will continue on its upward course, including the world's largest retailer, which is banking on shoppers looking for deals early. The National Retail Federation, the trade association that represents stores worldwide, expects holiday shoppers will spend an average of $749.51 on things like gifts, decor and greeting cards. That's an increase of nearly a dollar from the previous year. It may not seem like a lot, but overall holiday spending is expected to top $586.1 billion, a 4.1 percent increase.More

The holiday sales rush is on
Internet Retailer
More merchants will offer Cyber Monday discounts than in 2011, according to e-retail trade group Meanwhile, some of the largest online merchants, including Amazon and Wal-Mart, are getting an early start on holiday promotions.More

Millennials form strong brand preferences
Convenience Store News
Retailers may need to change their offerings to capture the hearts and wallets of the Millennial generation, according to "Millennial Passions: Food, Fashion, and Friends," a new report by The Boston Consulting Group. Millennials, defined as those 16 to 34 years old, are forming strong brand preferences and intentionally influencing the behaviors and brand choices of family, friends and even total strangers.More

Deloitte: 60 percent of Americans will shop over Thanksgiving weekend
Chain Store Age
Sixty percent of Americans plan to shop in stores or online over the Thanksgiving weekend — up from 51 percent in 2011, according to Deloitte's pre-Thanksgiving survey. Among these weekend shoppers, 63 percent plan to shop in stores on Black Friday and 23 percent plan to shop in stores on Thanksgiving day (up from 17 percent in last year's survey). Shoppers expect spend an average of $286 over the holiday weekend — up 28 percent from the 2011 survey.More

New Navy Exchange opens its doors to customers
Wounded warriors, active duty, retirees and their families won't have far to travel to fulfill most of their shopping needs as the new Navy Exchange store recently opened at Naval Support Activity Bethesda. More

NEX assists military children finance college
The Flagship
The NEX wants to help its customers finance their children's college education through its A-OK Student Reward Program. All qualified students will participate in a quarterly drawing for monetary awards of $2,500, $1,500, $1,000 or $500 for a total of $5,500 per quarter. The next drawing will be held at the end of November.More

MCCS director retires
For most individuals, retiring once in their lifetime is an accomplishment, but having the opportunity to do so twice in 43 years is rare. Dick French, a retired Marine and former director, Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, officially retire for the second time on Nov. 14.More

Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation A to Z — M is MWR, the history
Fort Leonard Wood Guidon
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation provides a variety of programs and services that create an environment where Soldiers and Families can thrive. The Family and MWR programs are proof of the Army's commitment to support and care for all who defend the nation and their family members. More

November ushers in Military Family Appreciation Month
November is Military Family Appreciation Month — the start of a month-long celebration of honoring the commitment and sacrifices of our nation's service members and their families. There's a lot to appreciate about military families. There's a passion and attitude among them to give it their all. Whether volunteering in their communities or with family readiness groups, military family members balance this commitment along with their careers, children, education and daily lives. More