ALA Executive Briefing
Jan. 3, 2014

Younger military veterans angered by budget cuts to their pension benefits
The Washington Post
The plan to trim pension increases for working-age military retirees is by far the most controversial provision in a bipartisan budget deal recently approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama. The cut is small — a one-percentage-point reduction in the annual cost-of- living increase — but it has provoked outrage among veterans, some of whom argue that the country is reneging on a solemn pact. More

New Year, new missions: 8 challenges awaiting the Pentagon in 2014
Defense One
The Pentagon was busy in 2013. A new defense secretary took the helm, the U.S. went to the brink of war with Syria, budget politics continued to frustrate military leaders, and the war in Afghanistan reached a critical moment before its finale. And 2014 promises to bring more challenges as the military continues to redefine and reshape itself for a post-war era by confronting new threats abroad and navigating the battle for resources at home in Washington. The following is a look at what's on the horizon for 2014.More

Linen/mat rental and cleaning services
Federal Business Opportunities
Linen/mat rental and cleaning services for the following locations: Aberdeen MD, Andrews MD, Annapolis MD, Bolling AFB DC, Camp Lejeune NC, Cherry Point NC, Dahlgren VA, Forest Glen MD, Fort Bragg North NC, Fort Bragg South NC, Fort Eustis VA, Fort Lee VA, Fort Leonard Wood MO, Fort Meade MD, Hanscom AFB MA, Keesler AFB MS, Langley VA, New River NC, Quantico VA, Richards-Gebaur MO, Selfridge MI and Seymour Johnson NC. The Period of Performance is April 1, 2014 through March 31, 2015, and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through March 31, 2019.More

Deli, bakery updated Performance Work Statement/Request For Information
Federal Business Opportunities
This notice is a Request for Information in accordance FAR 15.201(e) and is not a Request for Proposals. The Government will not award a contract on the basis of this notice. No funds are available to pay for preparation or responses to this RFI and no entitlement or payment of direct and/or indirect costs or charges by the Government will arise as a result of a vendor's submission of a response to this RFI or the Government's use of such information. This RFI is for planning purposes only and any information submitted by respondents to this RFI is strictly voluntary. More

Armored car services
Federal Business Opportunities
Armored car services for Patrick AFB Commissary: The Period of Performance will be for a base period of March 1, 2014 through Feb. 28, 2015, and will include four 1-year option periods that may extend performance through Feb. 28, 2019. This Request for Quotation will be issued on or about Dec. 30, 2013 with a tentative closing date of Jan. 28, 2014. This acquisition is being issued as Unrestricted. More

Shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area, custodial operations at the Fort Drum Commissary
Federal Business Opportunities
Furnish all supervision, personnel, equipment and supplies necessary to perform shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area and custodial operations for the Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Drum Commissary, located at Fort Drum, New York, in accordance with the Government's Performance Work Statement. The solicitation includes a base period (Sept. 1, 2014 through Aug. 31, 2015) and four 1-year option periods. This procurement is a 100 percent set-aside for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Concerns as determined by the Small Business Administration.More

Aldi plans 650 new US stores in next 5 years
Chain Store Age
Discount grocer Aldi is launching a 5-year strategic plan to open 650 new stores across the United States. The chain launched its expansion efforts with the decision to build its regional headquarters and distribution center in Moreno Valley, Calif. To reach its aggressive five-year goal, Aldi plans to accelerate the pace of new store openings to an average of 130 per year, up from an average of 80 stores per year in recent years.More

Publix ups its game with prototype store
Orlando Sentinel
Look out, Whole Foods. You too, Starbucks. Publix recently opened a prototype store that aims to be much more than a typical supermarket. It offers a cooking school, shopping and delivery services, and a café. Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix is unveiling the new store at an intensely competitive time for supermarkets, which are losing market share to big-box stores, drugstores and dollar stores. At the same time, they're competing with restaurants by providing an array of prepared meals.More

For troops, commissaries are still a valued benefit
The Town Talk
Even with the increasing encroachment of low-cost "big box" stores, commissaries remain a highly valued benefit for active-duty members — especially enlisted troops — and their shopping habits bear that out, according to a subscriber survey conducted by Military Times.More

The race for HASC Chairman has begun
Real Clear Defense
No one knows if there will be a race for the chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee in the 114th Congress. But based on the chatter in defense circles on Capitol Hill and around Washington, the race is on.More

Cuts to military retirement increases likely to become law, critics vow to keep fighting
Stars and Stripes
Recently, veterans advocates and their Senate Republican backers vowed to fight until the end to stop a budget deal that includes cuts to military retirement increases. A 67-33 procedural vote in the Senate shortly after that press conference put the budget deal on a likely path to becoming law.More

Hampton Roads ALA Golf Tourney: March 5, 2014

Join us for the Hampton Roads ALA Golf Tourney at Sewells Point Golf Course in Norfolk, Va., on March 5, 2014.

Click here to register!

Please sign up by Feb. 15, 2014. Field is limited to first 144 to register.More

Holiday sales rise 2.3 percent, online Christmas spending up 16.5 percent
Los Angeles
Retail sales in holiday-related categories such as apparel, electronics and jewelry rose a "decent" 2.3 percent, according to a report from MasterCard SpendingPulse. The so-so upswing from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24 improved on the same period in 2012 and was in line with expectations, researchers said. Overall sales from all categories swelled 3.5 percent. More

Behind UPS's Christmas Eve snafu
The Wall Street Journal
In the earliest hours of Dec. 24, packages poured into United Parcel Service Inc.'s main air hub in Louisville, Ky. And they were piling up. Employees responsible for sorting packages — already deep into a 100-hour week — were furiously getting them ready to be sent on to their destinations at airports around the country. But dozens of other workers responsible for loading those packages into planes to be shipped out were left standing around idle, because the unexpected glut of packages from last-minute shoppers had swamped the company's air fleet.More

Is Best Buy's 'showrooming' campaign working?
Advertising Age
Best Buy's showrooming strategy is likely paying off through increased store traffic but more could be done to encourage shoppers to actually buy its products, new research based on social-media data suggests.More

Top 10 luxury brand mobile campaigns of Q4
Luxury Daily
Luxury marketers aimed to recreate the in-store experience through mobile applications that mimicked tutorials and touch points that a consumer would explore while in a physical boutique. Using apps to elevate product awareness allowed brands to expand on the traditional app to bring campaigns to life while simultaneously increasing consumer interaction.More

A golden opportunity
2013 may be remembered as the year that the convergence of social and retail became serious. Retailers have built up fans and followers and return on investment is becoming a possibility, as is the ability to drive sales and engage brand ambassadors.More

Retailers prepare for post-Christmas discounts, gift returns
Los Angeles Times
The post-Noel mall scene this past year wasn't just marked by the annual stream of returns from dissatisfied gift recipients — there also was earlier opening hours and deeper discounts from stores hoping to clear their inventory and pad their revenue before the end of the year.More

Beyond borders: Retail lessons in global expansion
National Retail Federation
In an effort to achieve sustainable growth, many retailers are looking beyond their own borders to enhance their brand and generate sales and profits with a new set of customers. The idea of international expansion is not new, but the question of how to do it most effectively is one that many companies struggle to answer.More

GasBuddy predicts 2014 gas-price rollercoaster ride
U.S. gasoline prices will see huge swings and regional volatility in 2014, but GasBuddy analysis suggests that when the final figures are calculated, the average price next year will fall by about 10 cents per gallon from 2013 numbers. That would push the yearlong average below $3.40 per gallon for the first time since 2010 when motor fuel averaged $2.78 per gallon for the year.More

Florida proves faster for Wawa
Wawa Inc. CEO Chris Gheysens said that Florida builds are faster than those in its traditional territory in the Northeast. "We've made progress more quickly than we thought," he told The Tampa Bay Business Journal. Since it entered the Florida market in July 2012, the Wawa, Pa.-based convenience retailer has opened 33 stores, more than half of that in the Orlando area, according to the report.More

KPMG's Mark Larson: 5 New Year's resolutions for retailers
Retail's BIG Blog
NRF Senior Vice President and Executive Director Vicki Cantrell recently wrote, "Fundamentally, our customer has changed more in the past three years than in the past 30 and the pace of change is poised to accelerate in the coming decade." It's this kind of rapid pace in retail that serves as a catalyst for innovation. But in order to build a retail organization of the future, retailers must begin thinking how to consciously build this model today.More

Army Family Action Plan 2013: Conference aims to improve quality of life
U.S. Army
The Army Family Action Plan is one of the Army's principle programs to ensure that standards of living in the Army keep pace with changing times. It gives soldiers, families, retirees and civilian employees the opportunity to influence their own standards of living at the local as well as at the "Big" Army level.More

McGregor Range upgrades: Post improvements come from donated equipment, existing labor
El Paso Times
Fort Bliss continues to make improvements at McGregor Range to turn it into one of the top training areas in the Army. In addition to the new state-of-the-art $20 million dining facility which opened in July, a series of projects designed to improve the quality of life for service members who train there have been done "on the cheap" in recent months, said Lt. Col. Craig Cox, the commander for the McGregor Range Complex.More

DynCorp will support JTF-Bravo at Soto Cano
Honduras Weekly
Base operational support services for US defense forces in Honduras are to be provided by DynCorp International LLC of Falls Church, Va., under a contract worth as much as $22 million. The services at Soto Cano Air Base, in support of Joint Task Force Bravo, include engineering; laundry; supply support; morale, welfare and recreation; equipment maintenance; and food service. More

LGBT military families celebrate historic event
Members of the Oregon Air National Guard, friends and family met on base for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender potluck June 8, 2013. This event, a first for the Air National Guard, was designed to create a bridge in the military community. More

Small changes make big differences in reducing chances of alcohol-related problems
Navy Live
It's a new year and the idea of making a resolution or two may have crossed your mind. Many sailors take this time to reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming year. If you've thought over the last year that your drinking may be an issue, small changes can make a big difference in reducing your chances of a future alcohol-related problem occurring.More