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Home   About   Membership   Meetings   Government Affairs   Members Only Dec. 14, 2012
Executive Briefing

President's Message

Military Times questions relevancy of commissaries:

The usually reliable Military Times publications took a broadside at the military commissary system in a recent editorial that is included below. Unfortunately they didn't get it right. Now do not think for a minute that the commissary system is in the sweet spot when it comes to understanding its patron base and communicating with its shoppers ... but that remains a work in progress. DeCA needs to define its brand and they need to get it right. When "insiders" challenge the relevancy there is an issue. The recently completed economic study which you can find at lays out the compelling principles behind the military resale system and its contributions to the military family and our nation. The Military Times picks up on the flowed CBO recommendation that entire classes of beneficiaries should be disenfranchised when it comes to benefits. Do you think the active force does not watch what is happening to retiree's benefits and the discussions about cutting them back and every retiree was a member of the active force? We are preparing a response to the Military Times editorial and it will be well thought out and accurate.

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Excess commissaries in the market for a cut

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has dusted off a long-standing recommendation to get the Defense Department out of the grocery business. The American Logistics Association, which is dedicated to preserving that benefit, blasts the concept in its own new report. Business as usual.

Supported by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., the proposal would replace the military commissary system with a new allowance to partially offset food costs. Active-duty troops would get $400 a year on average; retirees, many of whom specifically retire near bases to take advantage of commissary savings, would get nothing.

ALA's report says the $400 annual allowance wouldn't come close to making up for the 30 percent savings that the Defense Commissary Agency says a military family can reap from shopping weekly at the commissary. A family spending just $100 a week can save $1,500 a year, according to DeCA. But both the proposal and the corresponding outrage fail to address the root issue: the disconnect between the original purpose of the commissary benefit and the people who benefit from it today.

Gold Medal Products Co.

Gold Medal has more than 350 employees committed to fueling our product lines with sales-generating concessions, as well as specialty foods machines and supplies. In addition to the network of dealers world-wide, Gold Medal has 11 branches throughout the nation to serve you. MORE

The commissary system was created in the 19th century to serve troops at remote outposts with no nearby commercial stores. Today, DeCA operates 247 stores worldwide, and while many make up for an absence of convenient or affordable shopping in the vicinity, ample commercial shopping exists outside the base gate at many, if not most, locations.

Over time, the face of the commissary shopper has also changed. DeCA's 2011 Commissary Customer Service Survey of 20,814 shoppers showed that active-duty members and their families make up 42 percent of the customer base — while 51 percent are retirees and their families. Earlier government audits indicate active-duty commissary shoppers have been in decline since the 1960s and have been outnumbered by retirees since the early 1990s.

Given its $1.3 billion annual subsidy, the commissary system is a fat and reasonable target in a time of national austerity. That's almost $1,000 a year per active-duty member for a benefit that's a luxury in suburban lands of plenty but a necessity to those stationed 10, 20, 30 miles or more from the nearest town. The Agriculture Department calls such places "food deserts," and it measures and tracks such locations because people who live there tend to suffer health problems as a result of their lack of access to fresh food.

By applying that same yardstick to military housing areas, both on and off base, the Pentagon could determine where commissaries are truly essential — and where they are not. Then, after completing a fresh, thorough, broader analysis of current commissary usage at each store — along with new, detailed price comparisons that focus not only on traditional supermarket chains but also on increasingly popular big-box discount stores like Costco, Sam's Club and Wal-Mart — leaders will have the information they need to make reasoned decisions about how to make the commissary system less costly while still delivering benefits to those who truly need it.

Without such data, the government is blind to the facts — and to any understanding of what a change to this benefit would mean to the people it was designed to help.


This week, DeCA is getting its sequestration guidance and the expectation is that it will be harsh and impactful. Here is the latest...

'Fiscal Cliff' talks appear to stall
Read the Full Story
The Washington Post via The Ledger, Paul Kane and Lori Montgomery
Washington stumbled closer to the "fiscal cliff" recently as President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans dug in further on their positions on taxes, even as no face-to-face negotiations took place.

Shedding light on what sequestration may bring
Read the Full Story
The Washington Post via Early Bird, Eric Yoder
Federal employees have a major stake in the debate over whether, and how, the government should back away from the "fiscal cliff" and potential for automatic "sequestration" cuts to programs starting in January.

Pentagon said to face $62 billion automatic spending reduction
Read the Full Story
Bloomberg Government via Current Mil-Tech News, Tony Capaccio
Pentagon budget analysts and attorneys have determined the U.S. military faces spending reductions of about $62.3 billion, $10 billion more than previously estimated, if automatic cuts take effect on Jan. 2, according to a U.S. defense official.

DoD officials hope for flexibility if sequestration occurs
Read the Full Story
Defense News, Donna Cassata
U.S. defense officials are still holding out hope that they might be given some flexibility on how to tailor spending reductions, particularly in weapon buying accounts, should sequestration go into effect next month, according to a senior defense official.

House Democrats, GOP embrace cuts in defense spending
Read the Full Story
The Associated Press via Yahoo News, Donna Cassata
Substantial reductions in military spending should be part of any budget deal that President Barack Obama negotiates with Congress to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts, a group of House Republicans and Democrats said.

Deep defense cuts loom as fiscal cliff inches closer
Read the Full Story
McClatchy Newspapers, Matthew Schofield
The debate over the so-called "fiscal cliff" — the combination of spending cuts and tax increases if Congress and the White House fail to reach a deal — has been a high-stakes game of politics and budgeting. Without an agreement by Jan. 2, nowhere will those cuts — called sequestration — be deeper than in the Department of Defense.

In talks on a budget deal, Boehner and Obama stand alone
Read the Full Story
The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman and Peter Baker
At House Speaker John A. Boehner's request, Senate leaders and Representative Nancy Pelosi have been excluded from talks to avert a fiscal crisis, leaving it to Boehner and President Barack Obama alone to find a deal, Congressional aides say.

Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association

Washington Update

Pentagon starts planning for potential budget cuts
The New York Times via Early Bird    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
After months of refusing to plan for how the Pentagon budget could or should be trimmed further, senior Defense Department officials have begun examining in earnest how the military would respond to automatic spending reductions if a budget deal eludes President Barack Obama and Congress past the end of the year. More

Pentagon to review perks for its leaders
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Pentagon recently announced that it will examine whether its generals and admirals receive too many perks and said they should receive more ethics training earlier in their careers. More

Direct Mail Reaches Military Families Where
They Live

Shoppers want information and coupons in advance to help them save money by planning at home. Active duty families living in military housing receive Judy Johnson's Military Family Mailbox envelopes in the mail. Active duty families are an important segment of the market with the most potential new commissary shoppers and new brand users. Young active duty families are your core customers. Reach them at home! Direct mail gives you a “first strike advantage” over your competitors marketing only inside the store

Time running out on 'fiscal cliff' deal
The Washington Post    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The contours of a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff are becoming increasingly clear. But progress has been slow, and time is running out for leaders to seal an agreement and sell it to restless lawmakers who so far have been given little information. More

Senate bill would cut 36,000 Defense Department civilian jobs
Federal Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Defense Department will be forced to cut up to 36,000 civilians from its workforce over the next five years if a provision in the Senate-passed 2013 Defense authorization bill becomes law. More

Philippines eyes greater US military presence
Agence France-Presse via ABS-CBN News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
US and Philippine officials will met this past week to discuss expanding American presence in the Asian nation, a senior diplomat said, amid tensions with China over its claims to vast waters in the region. More

Commissary News

US food shopping out of sync with nutritional advice
U.S. Department of Agriculture    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many of our diets aren't what they should be. Americans eat fewer fruits and vegetables than Federal nutrition guidance recommends, and we over-consume fats, added sugars, and refined grains. Health professionals warn us that the less-healthful food choices are showing up on our waistlines and in our health, contributing to increasing cases of overweight and obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Knowing how far we stray from good dietary patterns, and whether the diets of certain segments of the population are more misaligned, can help in designing more effective programs and consumer education. More

Spice Up Your Holiday Meals

We provide Hawaiian sea salts that are sure to tingle your taste buds. With our wide variety of flavors, we are sure to have something for everyone! Salty Wahine Gourmet turns everyday meals to the ultimate meal.

Moms become digital food shoppers
WARC    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new generation of American mothers is turning to the internet and social media as part of their regular menu planning and food shopping, a new report has found. Moms as Food Shoppers, from Packaged Facts, the research firm, looked at the behavior of mothers before they went into the grocery store as well as analyzing their actions in-store. More

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The 12 rules of grocery shopping for a happier Christmas-time    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Grocery shopping seems easy enough. You go to a store, gather together the items you want to buy, pay for them at the checkout and leave. However, the holidays can be busy and stressful. The following are some rules to follow to make things better for you, your fellow shoppers and the grocery store employees as well. More


Uniweb continually pushes the limits in creativity and potential of every product they create, providing cost-effective solutions to upgrade existing shelving and increase product facings in the same footprint, thereby enhancing sales volumes! Uniweb also engineers modular spaces which include cash or manager’s offices, secure rooms, and back offices.

Consumers jump ship to competing providers
Progressive Grocer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
In 2012, one in five consumers switched to a competing provider from a company they traditionally bought from, marking a 5 percent increase in this behavior from last year, according to Accenture's eighth annual Global Consumer Survey. Of those consumers who have switched, the study finds, 85 percent said the companies could have done something differently to retain their business. More

Commissary Announcements

Commissary Web Posts

The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website as of 10 a.m., December 13, 2012.

Winter Club Pack, Update #1 & Far East & Alaska Quantities #2.
2013 Spring Club Pack WW Program.

13-31, Can Vegetable Category Review.
13-34, Can Fish Category Review.

DeCAF 40-16 40-15 with Worksheet, 6 Dec 12.
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 12-50.
Guard & Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule updates.
CRV Values.

April 23, 2013: ALA/DeCA Customer Appreciation Golf Tournament, Fort Lee, Va.
April 24–26, 2013: ALA Commissary Roundtable, Marriott Hotel, Richmond, Va.
NEW June 18, 2013: ALA Congressional Caucus, Washington, D.C.
Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2013: 66th ALA National Convention, Hyatt Regency, New Orleans, La.

Exchange News

Macy's plans to keep its 800 stores open for 48-hours on the last weekend before Christmas
The Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Macy's is staying open the entire weekend before Christmas. For the first time, it's planning to have almost all its 800 nationwide stores open from 7 a.m. Friday, Dec. 21 through midnight on Sunday, Dec. 23. Macy's first tried the day-and-night shopping idea in 2006 at its Queens Center store in New York and expanded it to 14 stores last year. More

More shoppers on Thanksgiving vs. Friday
Reuters    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Opening their doors and offering sales on Thanksgiving did more than give retailers an early start to the holiday shopping season — the holiday actually may have drawn more shoppers than "Black Friday." More

Retail and consumer products: A less stable environment ahead
National Retail Federation    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
By all indications, 2012 will be another year of lethargic growth, store closings and increased focus on everyday low prices by several major retailers, all which will have a significant impact on the entire retail landscape. Multichannel is key to survival for many. Online retailing also threatens existing store economics, measurement systems and incentives. As a result, financial metrics are changing, too. More

Starbucks to open 1,500 new stores in US by 2017
Chain Store Age    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Starbucks Coffee Co. is moving ahead full-steam. The company recently announced accelerated global growth plans that include opening at least 1,500 stores in the United States during the next five years. Including Canada and South America in the mix, Starbucks expects to add a total of 3,000 new locations in its Americas region — and renovate thousands more — by 2017. More

Holiday shoppers celebrate Cyber Monday with record sales
Tampa Bay Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Oh, how we love the peace, selection and convenience of online holiday shopping. Consumers spent a record $1.47 billion on Cyber Monday, according to the Internet data tracking firm comScore. It's also the second day so far this season that online sales topped $1 billion. The other was Black Friday, which rang up $1.04 billion in sales, a 28 percent increase. More

'Pet parents' to spend big this holiday season
CNBC    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite the uncertain state of the economy there is a standout group of big spenders this holiday season: pet owners. PetSmart's CEO Robert Moran said the company is grabbing a big share of that spending by selling "pet parents" products to help pets live longer. "We don't sell products, we sell solutions," said Moran. More

Beyond deals and discounts: How retailers are luring in holiday shoppers
TIME    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Low prices are sure to draw in consumers during the ultra-competitive holiday shopping season. But cheap deals are hardly the only strategy being used by stores to woo consumers. More

Effective crowd management: Guidelines on how to maintain the safety and security of your customers, employees, store
National Retail Federation    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
NRF's Loss Prevention community has released its 2012 Effective Crowd Management Guidelines to address what retail stores and shopping centers should be prepared for when managing large crowds. In anticipation of what is expected to be one of the busiest holiday shopping season in years, the report can assist retailers in planning advanced measures to protect their stores, customers and employees. More

IDC releases preview of Top 10 Predictions for Retail Industry
Chain Store Age    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The impact of omnichannel retail on the supply chain, customer experience and merchandise optimization is one of IDC Retail Insights' Top 10 Predictions for the Retail Industry in 2013. More

NRF: Return fraud to cost retailers $2.9 billion this holiday season
Chain Store Age    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Retailers will lose an estimated $8.9 billion to return fraud this year, and $2.9 billion during the holiday season alone, according to the National Retail Federation's 2012 Return Fraud Survey. Overall, retailers estimate 4.6 percent of holiday returns are fraudulent. More

Report: Store opening plans for 2013 at a 4-year high
Chain Store Age    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Store opening plans for 2013 are at a four-year high even as positive retail trends tempered with uncertain fiscal policies signal a cautious start to the new year, according to a recent report released by Jones Lang LaSalle. More

Tying it all together: Predictions for 2013 begin with a buzzword — convergence
STORES    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While most retailers are focused on extracting every bit of revenue from the current calendar year, industry analysts are already looking ahead to identify the trends that will take root, the technologies that will be judged "top priority" and other changes in store for the retail landscape in 2013. More

UPS and FedEx raise shipping rates for 2013
Internet Retailer    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp. will increase their rates for standard ground shipping — the most common shipping method used by online retailers to deliver goods to consumers — by an average of 4.9 percent next year after factoring in a one percentage point reduction in fuel surcharges, the companies say. More

Finally: Big boxes leverage mobile, social
Marketing Daily via MediaPost    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A new survey from BDO reports that this holiday season, the largest retailers are getting the hang of both social and mobile, and working the brick-and-mortar angle to their own advantage. "Whether it's Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart or Toys R Us, we're seeing that brick-and-mortar stores have learned to adapt and even embrace the mobile shopper," Stephen Wyss, partner in BDO's retail and consumer product practices, tells Marketing Daily. More

Michael Kors engages Internet dwellers via customizable holiday microsite
Luxury Daily    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
U.S. fashion house Michael Kors is encouraging consumers to fill their downtime on a just-for-fun microsite that asks users how they want to celebrate the holidays while the label subtly pushes ecommerce. The microsite asks users to finish the statement, "Celebrate with..." Michael Kors is incorporating an ecommerce push into the microsite through offering specific products that correspond to submitted words and letting users view the entire selection of gift items via a pop-up page. More

More than a soft drink, Coke is an array of goods
The New York Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
December is Coke time, by dint of decades of advertising for Coca-Cola featuring the "Sundblom Santa" — illustrations by the artist Haddon Sundblom that have helped shape the popular perception of Santa Claus. The seasonal connection has taken on new meaning this month as the Coca-Cola Company has joined the home-shopping giant HSN for what is being described as the channel's most extensive partnership with a packaged-goods marketer. More

Why many Americans aren't spending more this holiday season
CNBC    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Despite the public being more upbeat on the economy than it was a year ago, the CNBC All-America Economic Survey found holiday spending will be virtually flat as uncertainty and "fiscal cliff" concerns weigh on consumers. More

Air Force bans some early-morning alcohol sales in Germany
Stars and Stripes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Air Force has prohibited the sale of packaged alcohol between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m. on installations in the Kaiserslautern Military Community, amid concerns about alcohol-related incidents. According to a memorandum dated Dec. 7, and signed by 86th Airlift Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Charles K. Hyde, the ban affects the sale of all beer, wine and liquor at 24-hour on-base shoppettes. There are two in the Kaiserslautern area: the new "Express" store on Ramstein, and the shoppette on Pulaski Barracks, which is run by the Army. More

A sneak peek at convenience store trends in the New Year
Convenience Store Decisions    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Whether it's implementing emerging technology or promoting a host of new foodservice items, 2013 promises to be an exciting year for convenience stores. The following are some of the trends that are likely to have a significant impact on c-store retailers in the coming year. More

The tea leaves of holiday giving
Retail's BIG Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When it comes to gifts, regardless of the season, there's no question that the age old saying "it's the thought that counts" rings true. But this holiday season, it looks like gift-giving might actually be back in fashion after taking a hiatus the last few years. And from what we can see, shoppers aren't skimping on presents for others or themselves. More

Amazon takes on same-day delivery: How can small businesses compete?
Forbes    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
"Everybody in retail is terrified of Amazon," research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru recently told the New York Times. And with good reason. Having expanded from books to nearly everything from dog food to digital e-readers, the online giant has taken another step to increase the menace for retailers. More

Retailers tout layaways, but survey finds a decline
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Major retailers say their extended and cheaper layaway programs successfully spurred holiday shopping across the nation this year, contradicting several surveys that found the opposite. More

Exchange Announcements

ALA Exchange E-Blast week 12/14/12

ALA Executive Briefing (archive link)

AAFES Press release Archive 2010-2012

AAFES sales flyers (to view click below)
Receive money saving offers via text

Join your local Exchange Buddy List

Join our Online Savings Club

Military Life Resource Directory page

Exchange Online Store

Exchange Online Store — Savings Center

Exchange Online Mall

Join the Exchange Online SAVINGS Club (receive exclusive COUPONS)!

MCX Mailers

Find a store

View our latest market surveys

Product recalls and alerts (Exchange)

Save the dates:

Fisher House Tour Date Change
Dear confirmed attendees:
We have had to reschedule the visit to the Dallas VA Fisher House that was originally scheduled for 9 a.m., Jan. 9 to 9 a.m., Jan. 30. The change was necessary to resolve a scheduling conflict at AAFES.

Please note the new date. You need not reconfirm with me, but if you are not able to attend on the new date, please let me know.

Thank you, and we apologize for any inconvenience that might result from this change.

Happy holidays!


James D. Weiskopf
Vice President, Fisher House Foundation
Home: 13125 Willow Edge Court, Clifton, VA, 20124-1080
Office: 111 Rockville Pike, Suite 420, Rockville, MD, 20850
Telephone: (Home) 703-378-5670; (Mobile) 202-607-1067

March 6-8, 2013 — All Exchange Round Table, Grand Hyatt, Dallas/Fort Worth Airport

March 6, 2013 — Bear Creek Golf Club
3500 Bear Creek Ct., Dallas, Texas, 75261
10 a.m. Shotgun Start
For more information, call Julie Fox at 469-221-4122, or email at
Registration forms and further details to follow at a later date.

April 23, 2013 — ALA/DeCA Customer Appreciation Golf Tournament, Fort Lee, Va.

April 24–26, 2013 — ALA Commissary Roundtable, Marriott Hotel, Richmond, Va.

Aug. 19-22, 2013 — 2013 Hawaii Trade and Food Show, Honolulu, Hawaii

Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2013 — 66th Annual Convention, Hyatt New Orleans, New Orleans, La.

Go to:, sign in and CHECK OUT the information.

Washington Update

Naval Medical Center San Diego and Naval Base San Diego host 4th-annual Wounded Warrior Holiday Salute
America's Navy    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Nearly 300 wounded warriors and their families were celebrated during the fourth-annual Wounded Warrior Holiday Salute luncheon at Naval Medical Center San Diego on Dec. 6. The event included music from the Commander, Navy Region Southwest band while the wounded, ill and injured (WII) troops were greeted by California Congresswoman Susan Davis, former UFC champion Chuck Liddell, members of the San Diego Padres, Charger Girls and dozens of senior military leadership. NBSD Commanding Officer Capt. Winton Smith emphasized expressing gratitude during the opening of the event. More

2013 scholarships for Military Children Program
Share   Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The 2013 scholarship program opened on Dec. 3 and will remain open through Feb. 22, 2013. The program, administered by Fisher House Foundation, is primarily funded by donations from ALA member companies. Please see memo, (click here), for details about the program.


Executive Briefing
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601  Download media kit
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