|ALA Executive Briefing|
|Jan. 11, 2013|
Senior official at VA resigns over conference spending
The Washington Post via Early Bird
A senior official with the Department of Veterans Affairs has resigned and a second official has been reassigned in the aftermath of a scandal over the department's conference spending, according to a VA memo.More
Obama's picks signal changes at Pentagon, CIA
The Washington Post via Press Display
President Barack Obama is assembling a national security team designed for an era of downsized but enduring conflict, a team that will be asked to preside over the return of exhausted American troops and wield power through the targeted use of sanctions, Special Operations forces and drone strikes. More
With Hagel nomination begins a new campaign
The Washington Post via Early Bird
The nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel to lead the Pentagon has set in motion a highly unusual campaign-style brawl over a Cabinet post long considered above politics. Supporters and opponents are raising money and building political organizations in anticipation of a grueling and contentious Senate confirmation process.More
Plan to shift US forces in Pacific hits speed bumps on Guam
The Wall Street Journal
Plans to concentrate the biggest U.S. military presence in Asia on the tropical island of Guam have been pushed back for several years, hit by local opposition and cost overruns.More
Staring down the sequester barrel
The Washington Post via PressDisplay
The 113th Congress' most pressing defense-related concern will be the military's budget, despite the previous Congress having averted the so-called "fiscal cliff." Come March 1, automatic spending cuts will begin slicing $500 billion from the Pentagon's budget over the next 10 years — and prompting layoffs for as many as 800,000 civilian Defense Department workers. More
Survey probes Americans' snacking habits
Marketing Daily via MediaPost
The once-dominant cultural concept of snacking as a special occasion between meals is long gone. In 2012, 52 percent of all eating occasions among American consumers were snacking occasions up from 49 percent in 2010, according to The Hartman Group's Eating Occasions Database.More
Target ad campaign puts groceries in the spotlight
Target is pushing its food, laundry detergent and other groceries in a national ad campaign that pokes fun at high-fashion advertising by featuring models interacting with everyday products.More
Battling to win in an hourglass economy
The marketplace for traditional grocers is under attack, and this battle is only likely to intensify in coming years. Fierce competition is only in part to blame; what is really setting in is a more permanent shift in consumer spending. The new normal looks more like an hourglass, with expanding markets for affluent and value-seeking consumers and a shrinking middle class with a shrinking budget for food. More
Packing, eating and reheating: Food safety from the store to the table
Today's busy families are always on the go, which means less time for shopping, preparing and eating food. However, there is one thing you can't skimp on no matter how fast you're going, and that's food safety. From grocery shopping to reheating leftovers, you can use several tips to ensure that the food you eat isn't going to make you or your family sick.More
Online grocery shopping: Boom or bust?
San Francisco Business Times
Based on this holiday season's sales figures, online shopping is more popular than ever — even for groceries. As more people migrate to urban areas and double-income households become burdened by increasingly busy schedules, it's no mystery why the perceived convenience of online shopping would be attractive to a growing number of people. But is it as good as it sounds?More
Cooking heats up among consumers
According to new research from Mintel, cooking at home has become a more popular trend among consumers, with one quarter (26 percent) of Americans saying they "love" cooking; 35 percent saying they "like" to cook; 31 percent saying they "don't mind it"; while only 9 percent claim they'd prefer to stay out of the kitchen all together. Additionally, 20 percent of U.S. consumers describe their cooking skills level as advanced, while almost half (46 percent) feel they maintain at least an intermediate level.More
Plan to shift US forces in Pacific hits speed bumps on Guam
The Wall Street Journal
Plans to concentrate the biggest U.S. military presence in Asia on the tropical island of Guam have been pushed back for several years, hit by local opposition and cost overruns. The project, known on the U.S. territory simply as the "buildup," represents two goals of the Pentagon. One is to boost military capability in Asia and focus U.S. diplomatic and military attention on the region. The other is to shift thousands of Marines from the Japanese island of Okinawa, where crime, accidents and noise from a U.S. base have inspired a groundswell of anti-Americanism.More
Target to match some rivals' online prices year-round
Target Corp recently said it will match on a year-round basis the prices found on the websites of key rivals Amazon.com Inc, Best Buy Co Inc, Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Toys R Us, its latest tactic to hold onto shoppers focused on price.More
Wal-Mart among supermarket chains getting more in-store fast food outlets soon
The Huffington Post
If you're a fan of slow food, local produce, haute cuisine and/or small businesses, you may want to cover your eyes. You aren't going to like this news. According to a recent report in Nation's Restaurant News, growing fast food chains have set their sights on two big areas for franchises: supermarkets and convenience stores.More
Bargains, not product still spurring electronics sales
In case you ever wondered, the hype around Black Friday bargains works. For the third-straight year, consumer electronics sales faded in the later part of the holiday season as shoppers made purchases early in order to take advantage of heavily promoted Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, according to market researcher NPD Group. More
Stores buck trend, cut jobs in December
Women's Wear Daily
Apparel specialty retailers and department stores trimmed payrolls in December despite a gain in employment in the overall economy at a time of fiscal uncertainty, a recent Labor Department report showed. Economists said the tense fiscal cliff negotiation in Washington had some impact on business confidence and as a result led to weaker hiring, particularly among smaller businesses in the month. (Subscription required.)More
Military-base stores save taxpayers money
Base grocery and department stores provide military members, retirees and their families with shopping discounts worth $4.5 billion annually. But that's just a fraction of the overall value these stores deliver to the military and the nation, a new study from American Logistics Association argues in response to fresh threats on the shopping benefit.More
Frito Lay and United host annual beef jerky drive for troops
As many us wrap up celebrating the holidays safe in our homes, many U.S. troops are still serving our country overseas. That's why a few local businesses teamed up to remind our troops we still support them. More
Online holiday spending total falls short
Chain Store Age
A recent report released by comScore showed that holiday online spending grew 14 percent year-over-year to $42.3 billion, as individual shopping days reached record spending levels. Total results, however, fell slightly short of early-season predictions, as softer-than-expected buying occurred during the early to mid weeks of the period. More
US holiday shoppers spent $42.3 billion online, up 14 percent from last year
After announcing some early post-Christmas numbers, comScore just released its final analysis of U.S. online holiday spending for 2012: shoppers bought a total of $42.3 billion worth of goods online from Nov. 1 to Dec. 31. That's up 14 percent from the $37.2 billion comScore reported last year, but a bit lower than expected as shoppers slowed down around mid-December.More
Security worries still keep some consumers from shopping online
Most consumers buy online, but 12 percent still don't, according to a recent survey by Javelin Strategy & Research, a financial services research and consulting firm. Some want to see goods before purchasing, but many of the online holdouts are concerned about fraud and privacy, the survey suggests.More
Petco maps out a new leadership strategy
Chief Learning Officer
From 2005 to 2007, Petco, a national pet specialty retailer, saw its market position slip as competition grew from big box retailers and boutique stores. Petco leaders fought to win back market share by delivering a consistent customer experience at each of the company's 1,100 stores. To do that, they implemented Leading at Petco — a two-day interactive and immersive session to provide managers with the skills and tools to help their people improve productivity and results. More
Rivals object to Wal-Mart ads
The Wall Street Journal
An aggressive Wal-Mart Stores Inc. advertising campaign that claims better prices than specific, named competitors has rankled rivals, which have complained to attorneys general in more than half a dozen states.More
After soft start, holiday sales gained
The New York Times
Many major American retailers were able to recover from a slow start to December shopping, according to monthly sales results recently reported. Despite early indications that the holiday season would be lackluster, the 17 apparel chains tracked by Thomson Reuters reported a 4.5 percent increase for December sales at stores open at least a year, exceeding the 3.3 percent gain analysts had expected. More
Strong men's sales seen continuing through 2013
Women's Wear Daily
Designers and retailers continue to court male customers in both new and established markets, catering to their increasing thirst for looks that blend fashion trends and sartorial quality. (Subscription required.)More
Take your business to the next level in 2013
Holiday leftovers aren't even cold before conversation typically turns to resolutions for the new year. A December 2012 TD Ameritrade survey found that half of Americans want to improve their health and 32 percent hope to strengthen their finances in 2013. Companies also will be taking steps to achieve greater prosperity this year.More
Gap to buy luxury retailer Intermix
The Wall Street Journal
Gap Inc. is buying women's fashion boutique Intermix Inc. for $130 million, a deal that will give the mostly casual-clothes retailer an opening to the all-important luxury market. The acquisition is the first in half a decade for Gap, which is coming off a string of rare fashion successes that boosted its sales and stock price last year.More
What fiscal cliff? US shoppers shrug off budget debate
The "fiscal cliff" drama that dominated the news and spooked businesses and financial markets did little to dampen spending by U.S. shoppers this holiday season. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll shows nearly three-quarters of Americans said the debate around the fiscal cliff had no impact on their holiday spending.More
Polaroid creating branded retail stores
Marketing Daily via MediaPost
Creating a retail empire off an electronics brand worked for Apple. Perhaps it can do the same for Polaroid. This year, Polaroid will launch at least 10 experimental retail locations that will give people the chance to take images from their digital devices and turn them into keepsakes. The first of these stores, dubbed Polaroid Fotobar, will open in February in Delray Beach, Fla. More
Convenience stores making comeback nationally
The convenience store market has exploded with enormous growth across the country and around Arkansas in recent years. Since 2005, more than 8,100 C-stores have been added from coast to coast bringing the total to nearly 149,000 venues — a footprint that dominates the big and small box retail landscape. A recent report from The Neilsen Company indicates there are more convenience stores than warehouse clubs, supercenters, dollar stores, supermarkets and drug stores combined. More
E-retailers experience a mixed holiday bag
While some faced tougher price competition, Santa was good to most e-retailers this past holiday shopping season. Many of the Top 100 online merchants report strong year-over-year revenue gains and major growth in mobile traffic and sales. More
3 HR resolutions for retailers in 2013
Retail's BIG Blog
In retail, it takes more than awesome products and great brand names to make profits it takes great people. As we kick off a new year, we can expect HR executives to put more focus into training and development to make their all-star cast of employees even greater. More
Gas Buddy, AAA release forecasts for 2013 pump prices
Convenience Store News
With 2013 underway, gasoline price analysts at GasBuddy and AAA have begun to release their yearly forecasts. Predictions include monthly highs and lows as well as an overall look ahead at the new year.More
AAFES vendor complaisance seminar 2013 training schedule
Dear Exchange partner:
The Exchange continuously drives for an efficient and effective working relationship with our suppliers. In order for our suppliers to have a better understanding of the business programs and processes, the Exchange hosts a monthly two-day learning seminar directed to our suppliers.
You are cordially invited to register for one of our scheduled 2013 Exchange Supplier Learning Seminars. The FREE two-day seminar is held at the Exchange Headquarters located at 3911 S. Walton Walker Blvd, Dallas, Texas, 75236-1598. Please click here to access the registration form.
The following agenda provides an insight to the diverse presentations provided during the two-day seminar and the 2013 schedule.
Day 1 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Global Data Synchronization (GDS)
Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)
Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)
Quality Assurance/Social Accountability
Oracle Retail Systems (PAR)
Direct Store Delivery (DSD)
Exchange Partners On-Line Training
Day 2 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Accounts Payable Workshop
Marketing & Advertising
Trade Promotion Management/Vendor Non-Compliance
Q&A with Buyers
2013 Seminar Schedule:
Please click here to register online or contact AAFESVendorCompliance@aafes.com for more information. We look forward to our continued partnership.
Army & Air Force Exchange Service
Vendor Compliance Program
Retired Employees Association
The AREA scholarship program is a long-standing AREA activity. We've provided scholarships to the children of The Exchange employees for many years, having contributed a total of $435,795 to further their education. The amount of the fund continues to grow each year, and we awarded 17 scholarships in 2011 for $47,000. Click here for a listing of scholarship awards since program initiation. (Special note to Dallas, HRALA, Nerea and the NY Commander Stohr scholarships: HRALA gave $10,000 to AREA, NEREA and HRALA scholarships in December and the Dallas Chapter collected over $14,000 for the Marilyn Iverson, and AREA fund.)More
Select NEXs to offer electric vehicle charging stations
The Navy Exchange Service Command is piloting a program to offer electric vehicle charging stations at several of its NEXs.
"We are piloting this program to meet the needs of our customers who own electric vehicles," said Robert J. Bianchi, Chief Executive Officer, NEXCOM. "Since electricity is considered an alternative fuel, we are also in alignment with the government's goal to reduce petroleum consumption through improvements in fleet fuel efficiencies and the use of alternative fuels. Electric vehicle charging stations are a win for our customers, for the Navy and for the environment."
NEX Bethesda, Md., is the first store to offer electric vehicle charging. Adjacent to the new NEX is a 2-level 500-space parking garage that features two electric vehicle charging spots reserved specifically for eco-friendly, low emissions vehicles.
"Our customers are definitely using the electric vehicle charger," said Rico J. Macaraeg, head of Employee Development and Marketing, NEX Northern District. "We have one customer who comes in during his lunch hour to charge his car. While the car is charging, he grabs lunch in our food court and does some shopping."
The cost for charging an electric vehicle in Bethesda is $.48 per kilowatt hour. Customers pay for the service at the charging station by either using radio frequency identification credit or a ChargePoint® key fob card, which acts as a debit card. A ChargePoint® card can be purchased at www.chargepoint.com.
"The price to charge a vehicle may differ from one NEX location to another," said Larry Boone, NEXCOM's automotive program manager. "We survey the surrounding area to ensure our pricing is competitive with the local market. We want to make sure our customers are receiving the best price, just like any other product or service they would find at the NEX."
NEXCOM plans to provide electric vehicle charging stations at NEX San Diego and NEX North Island, Calif., this year and NEX Annapolis, Md., in 2014 when its new store is scheduled to open.
"We chose these locations to offer electric vehicle charging stations because electric vehicle concentration is greater in these metropolitan areas," said Boone.More
Results of NEX 2012 Customer Survey shows 'a job well done!'
Since 1998, the Navy Exchange Service Command has surveyed its customers to find out how its NEXs are doing in a number of different areas including customer service, pricing, problem resolution, customer experience and more. The Customer Satisfaction Index survey results for 2012 show a two point increase to 85, based on a 100 point scale. This puts NEXs at the satisfaction level as some of America's most customer focused retailers, such as Nordstrom and Kohl's. The most recent industry average for the CSI is 76.
"Over the past 14 years that we've been doing this survey, I'm very proud of the fact that our results have steadily increased," said Robert J. Bianchi, Chief Executive Officer, NEXCOM. "We take the results of this survey very seriously. This is where we hear directly from our customers about the good things we're doing, but also about the areas where we can improve."
In 2012, NEXs focused increased attention on sales flyers, pricing and merchandise selection. For sales flyers, the survey asked about satisfaction with prices advertised in the sales flyer, the availability of merchandise and if the merchandise fit the customer's interest. In pricing, the survey asked if merchandise reflected value for the money, whether the NEX had merchandise to fit most budgets and if the NEX adjusted prices based on its competition. Finally, in merchandise selection, the customers were asked how they felt about the merchandise selection, whether the merchandise was what the customer wanted, and whether it was in stock.
The survey showed that sales flyers and pricing increased one point each to 84 while merchandise rose two points to 82. Satisfaction with each of these three high priority areas is now at a record high. Other areas where NEXs received high scores were associates (92), which rated associates on courtesy, knowledge and availability; returns (90), which rated the NEX on the flexibility of its return policy, ease of making a return and the time it took to return merchandise at the store; and checkout (88), which rated cashier courtesy, how long it took to checkout and whether new lanes were open when more than two customers were in line. In 2013, NEXs will again focus attention on sales flyers, merchandise and pricing as these have the highest impact on overall customer satisfaction.
In 2012, 89 percent of NEX stores scored above 80 compared to 84 percent last year and 77 percent in 2010. For the third year in a row, there were no NEXs with scores below 70. "These scores show us that we have consistently strong performance in all of our stores around the world," said Bianchi. "As we have focused on these opportunity areas, our NEX store scores have dramatically increased."
Each NEX reports to a district which is overseen by a NEXCOM District Vice President. Scores for each NEX within a district were averaged out to calculate each district’s score. Districts in the continental United States rose one point to 85 while overseas districts rose two points to 82. Individual NEX district scores for 2012 were as follows: Hawaii up one point to 87; Mid-South remained the same at 86; Tidewater and Western rose one point each to 86; Southeast rose two points to 85; Japan rose four points to 85; Northwest rose one point to 84; Northern rose two points to 84; Europe rose one point to 81 and Guam decreased one point to 84.
"While we do survey our customers once per year to attain these CSI results, we continually ask for their feedback through surveys on our web store, www.MyNavyExchange.com," said Bianchi. "We know that the best way to find out how we're doing is to ask our customers. Their feedback is invaluable to us and we take their comments seriously. Our customers are why we are here."More
NEX online store offers flat rate shipping
The NEX online store, www.myNavyExchange.com, now offers flat rate shipping on all merchandise.
"NEX customers can shop confidently knowing what to expect when it is time to check out," said Tess Paquette, Navy Exchange Service Command Chief Merchandising Officer. "By having flat rate shipping on all orders, customers can calculate the total cost of their order before they check out."
Customers will pay $5.95 for standard delivery (7–10 business days); $12.95 for priority delivery (3-5 business days); and $17.95 for express delivery (1-3 business days). More
NEXCOM cellphone policy
Personal cellular telephones/smartphones use restrictions:
VFW Operation Uplink 'Free Call Day' Program tops 7 million connections
Veterans of Foreign Wars
The Veterans of Foreign Wars proudly announces its Operation Uplink™ "Free Call Day" program recently surpassed 7 million connections from deployed military personnel to their loved ones at home. The program hosts Free Call Days for service members serving in Afghanistan and Kuwait, as well as hospitalized veterans, giving them the opportunity to call family and friends in the United States at no cost.More
AF names 2012 GEICO Military Service Awards nominees
Four Airmen are nominees for the 2012 Government Employees Insurance Company Military Service Awards, Air Force Personnel Center officials announced. Nominees include Tech. Sgt. Cecilia N. Cardenas, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.; Senior Master Sgt. Michael V. Marascia, Dyess AFB, Texas; Senior Master Sgt. Steven L. Rinehart, Misawa Air Base, Japan; and Master Sgt. Woodson W. Wright, III, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.More