ALA Executive Briefing
Jan. 17, 2014

Congress readies 3-day CR — full defense bill is complete
Defense News
Congressional appropriators have completed a full 2014 Pentagon spending bill that will be part of a massive government appropriations measure, sources say. That omnibus measure, however, won't pass before a Jan. 15 deadline, forcing lawmakers to first adopt a three-day stopgap funding measure.More

Pentagon seeks to protect R&D funding in 2015 budget
Defense News
Senior Pentagon leaders are trying to protect vulnerable research and development funding in the fiscal 2015 budget plan, despite desires within the military services to put money toward other near-term initiatives, according to Defense Department officials and sources.More

South Korea, US reach deal on sharing defense cost
Yonhap News
After months of tough negotiations, South Korea has agreed to pay 920 billion won ($866 million) to the United States this year in their latest deal on sharing the cost of keeping American troops here, the foreign ministry said. The figure represents a 5.8 percent increase from 869.5 billion won that Seoul paid in 2013 under a previous Special Measures Agreement, according to the ministry.More

Does the Commissary REALLY save you 30.5 percent?
A new study conducted by the Defense Commissary Agency found that shoppers save an average of 30.5 percent when using the commissary instead of other grocery sources. The study compared the prices of 37,000 products with UPC symbols at 30 randomly selected stateside commissary stores with prices at surrounding grocers — both traditional ones like Safeway or Publix and non-traditional ones like Sam's Club or Dollar General. They found that, on average, those items were 30.5 percent cheaper at the commissary during the study period.More

New price study validates commissary's 30 percent savings
Commissary savings are now being measured against a wider range of retailers that sell groceries, and the comparison confirms the value of the benefit, according to the Defense Commissary Agency's 2013 price comparison study. For the first time, the expanded comparison survey allowed DeCA to look beyond traditional grocery stores to include price comparisons with club stores, drug stores, dollar stores and the discount department stores.More

Rep. Wittman praises commissary program, doesn't mention the system being subsidized under the food stamp program
On Jan. 10, Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia asked for and was granted permission to address the United States House of Representatives for one minute to praise the military commissary system. "Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my support for the military exchange and commissary program."More

Do online grocers beat supermarkets?
The Wall Street Journal
The idea of buying groceries online has been around as long as the Internet, but who would ever do it? Limited selection, high cost and inconvenient delivery timing has kept it a niche business in mostly urban areas. But now online groceries are starting to make sense for the rest of us and, thanks to growing competition, they can even save you money.More

Ahold USA marks 120th pickup point
Drug Store News
Ahold USA has opened 120 pickup points for online orders as of the end of 2013, the supermarket operator recently said. Ahold, which hopes to triple its online food sales by 2016, said the opening of pickup points in the United States and Europe would be an important part of reaching that goal. More

Flat shelf utility cart
Federal Business Opportunities
This solicitation is being issued as a 100 percent small business set-aside for flat shelf utility carts. This equipment will be used by Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the continental United States and overseas locations. However, for overseas stores, except Hawaii, the contractor would only be responsible for preparation for overseas shipment and delivery to the port. More

COLA fixes miss the mark
Navy Times
The massive omnibus spending bill recently unveiled by congressional appropriators includes restoration of the full annual cost of living adjustment for medically retired service members and eligible survivors. The provision preserves annual increases in military retirement pay for those with service connected injuries or illnesses deemed serious enough to warrant retirement as well as those who receive annuity payments under the Survivor Benefit Plan.More

Lawn maintenance services
Federal Business Opportunities
Lawn service at Oceana NAS Commissary in Virginia. 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 Quote will be issued on/or about Jan. 15, 2014 with a tentative closing date of Jan. 29, 2014. This acquisition is being issued on a 100 percent Small Business Set-Aside basis.More

Counter-top pressure-less steamers
Federal Business Opportunities
This solicitation is being issued as unrestricted. The solicitation is for four counter-top pressure-less steamers to be delivered to three Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the Continental United States and one commissary located in Hawaii. The contractor will be responsible for preparation for overseas shipment and delivery to Hawaii. A purchase order is contemplated.More

Are GMOs worth the risk?
By Lauren Swan
Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in our food supply has been a hot topic in the U.S. for the past several years, reaching its peak with the passing of The Farmer Assurance Provision. Many Americans, regardless of ethnicity or political party, want foods containing GMOs to be labeled. Meanwhile, barely more than a third of Americans believe GMOs are safe to eat, regardless of labeling. Many people are eager to have a say in GMOs, however it seems not many are truly aware of the repercussions GMOs can have on their bodies.More

Starbucks pushes further into grocery with Seattle's Best revamp
Bloomberg Businessweek
Starbucks Corp.'s Seattle's Best brand is adding new packaged coffee varieties with revamped bag designs as it focuses on boosting sales at grocery stores. Seattle's Best this year will sell house and breakfast blends of packaged coffees, replacing its levels one and two varieties, after the lighter roasts and number ranking system didn't resonate with all customers.More

Shoppers buy less than 1 percent of available products
Progressive Grocer
Consumers are highly selective regarding CPG purchases, buying on average less than one percent of products available on grocery shelves during a one-year period, according to "Engaging the Selective Shopper," a new study conducted by digital media company Catalina.More

5 mistakes people make at the grocery store
The Huffington Post
What do root canals, pelvic exams, filing taxes, car repairs and grocery shopping have in common? Absolutely nothing, except they are all life activities that some despise with the intensity of a thousand white-hot suns. Distain for this household chore is not uncommon. Many people feel overwhelmed and anxious when faced with a warehouse full of food. Part of the reason this necessary evil is difficult is that many of us make a few big mistakes when it comes to shopping for our food. More

Blueberry demand on the rise in US
Grocery Headquarters
New research from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council shows Americans are nearly twice as likely as they were nine years ago to buy blueberries in the coming year, and the number of households saying they've purchased blueberries within the past month (69 percent) has nearly doubled since 2008.More

New Year, new trends
Progressive Grocer
Customization. Wellness. Easy preparation. Value. Cleanliness. Taste. Specialties. These are all trends that should be guiding your deli planning and operations in the coming year.More

It's time to cut military health and pension benefits
Defense One
Military health and pension benefits, which have more than doubled in the past decade, should be reduced as the defense budget comes down.More

CBO suggests tough defense spending cuts
Military Times
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has proposed six ways to reduce defense spending ranging from deep cuts to the military services to controversial reductions in pay and benefits.More

Hampton Roads ALA Golf Tourney

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

HOLE SPONSORSHIPS WELCOMED to benefit HRALA's Scholarship Program!

Click here to register!

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

J.C. Penney to close 33 stores, cut 2,000 jobs
J.C. Penney Co. recently said it would close 33 stores and cut 2,000 jobs as part of its efforts to return to profitability. Chief Executive Myron Ullman said in a statement the action "addresses a strategic priority to improve the profitability of our stores."More

Sears turns to corporate blog to defend itself
Advertising Age
With its earnings continuing to tank and its future called into question, Sears Holdings Corp. recently turned to an old standby for a company pleading its case to the media, analysts and consumers: The corporate blog.More

Age matters: Spotlighting the generational impact on spending
Retail's BIG Blog
For a consumer to eventually choose to shop and spend money — from any generation and at any company — it boils down to past experiences: how they feel about the economy, their money-spending lifestyle and how they place value in items they're shopping for. Looking at consumers by when they were born unveils trends retailers can use for understanding who they are selling to and how they should best reach them.More

Retailers must end consumer addiction to discounts
Retail stocks recently took a hit as the holiday picture came more into focus, with signs increasingly pointing toward a lackluster season of deep discounts and low traffic. Although experts said 2014 should offer some relief to consumers' pocketbooks, as the broader economy continues to strengthen, retailers' big challenge will be to find a way to attract customers without giving away the store, as many did this holiday. More

Low-end retailers had a rough holiday
The Wall Street Journal
Retailers catering to lower income consumers had a rough holiday. Family Dollar Stores Inc. recently lowered its full-year profit forecast and reversed course on strategy. Meanwhile, Sears Holding Corp. said sales at its Sears and K-Mart chains fell deeply from a year earlier, reflecting weakness in its customer base as well as strategic missteps by executives trying to reshape its business.More

Retail hiring lifts employment in December
National Retail Federation
The National Retail Federation recently issued the following statements from NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay and Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz on the December jobs report: "The nation's retailers continued to add to their payrolls in December even in the midst of the condensed holiday shopping season," said Shay. "Retailers and merchants, especially those operating clothing and general merchandise stores, increased hiring, which may indicate a solid holiday sales season."More

Heavy discounting cuts into holiday profits
Chain Store Age
Retailers across the board, from Victoria's Secret parent L Brands Inc. and American Eagle Outfitters to Family Dollar Stores and Bed, Bath & Beyond, recently cut their fourth-quarter earnings forecasts as heavy promotions and discounts cut into profits. More

Family Dollar president, COO Michael Bloom resigns
Chain Store Age
Family Dollar Stores recently announced that president and COO Michael Bloom has left the company to pursue other interests. The company will conduct a search for a new president and COO. The news comes amid disappointing first quarter results for the company, which lowered its earnings expectations for the second quarter and full year. More

Barnes & Noble holiday revenues drop 6.6 percent
Chain Store Age
Barnes & Noble reported decreases in revenue for both its retail and Nook segments during the nine-week 2013 holiday season as compared to the same period in the prior year. The retail segment, which consists of the Barnes & Noble bookstores and, had revenues of $1.1 billion, decreasing 6.6 percent from the prior year. More

Costco tops estimates in December
Chain Store Age
Costco Wholesale Club's same-store sales rose 3 percent in December, beating analysts' estimates of a 1.8 percent gain. The metric climbed 5 percent in the U.S. and inched up 1 percent overseas for the five weeks ended Jan. 5.More

Macy's to trim 1.4 percent of workforce
The Wall Street Journal
Macy's Inc. is laying off about 2,500 employees as part of a plan to cut costs and generate $100 million in annual savings, a move that helped the company issue an upbeat profit outlook for the new fiscal year.More

Macy's to shut 5 stores, cut 2,500 jobs; will save $100 million annually
Chain Store Age
Macy's recently said that it plans to close five underperforming stores in early spring 2014 and cut 2,500 jobs in "organizational changes" to sustain its profitability. The cost-reduction initiatives are expected to save the retailer about $100 million annually, beginning in 2014.More

Holiday sales saved by last-minute shoppers
The Washington Post
Holiday shoppers who put off their purchases until the last minute led a late surge in sales, according to data recently released by ShopperTrak, a research firm. Sales in November and December were up 2.7 percent from 2012, which was better than the firm's projected increase of 2.4 percent. But foot-traffic was down more than 14 percent from 2012.More

Stores turning tables on m-commerce tech
Even as retailers are busy sweeping up tinsel and crunching fourth-quarter numbers, it's clear to observers that this holiday marked a changed approach to omnichannel strategies. And mobile is still the wild card.More

J.C. Penney 'pleased' with holiday performance, but offers no sales data
Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney recently issued a brief statement saying that it was "pleased" with its performance for the holiday selling period, and reaffirmed its fourth quarter fiscal 2013 guidance for increased same-store sales. But the retailer did not provide any specific sales data.More

Container Store Q3 net income slightly drops
Chain Store Age
The Container Store Group Inc. saw its net income drop about 2 percent, to $5.2 million from $5.3 million, during the third quarter of fiscal 2013. This occurred while net sales grew 7.3 percent, to $188.3 million from $175.4 million, and same-store sales increased 4.7 percent.More

QVC's contact center gets top score in ForeSee Experience Index
MultiChannel Merchant
QVC had the highest score in contact center customer satisfaction with a score of 88. QVC beat out Amazon, Costco, O'Reilly Auto Parts and PetSmart which each saw a score of 85, according to the recent ForeSee Experience Index: 2014 U.S. Retail Edition.More

Restaurants fear clout of a new food giant
The Wall Street Journal
Customers will have less room for maneuver if Sysco completes its planned $3.5 billion purchase of U.S. Foods. The deal would combine the country's two biggest food distributors into a giant with $65 billion in annual revenue, five times as much as the next-biggest rival. More

Report: Retail foot traffic declines during 2013 holiday season
Chain Store Age
The full months of November and December 2013 suffered a brick-and-mortar customer traffic decline as compared to the same two months in 2012. According to new analysis from RetailNext, average sales decline remained at low single digits, which was aided by average growth in average transaction value and a slightly positive 0.2 percent point increase in conversion. More

Target cuts outlook — discloses wider data breach
Chain Store Age
Target Corp. recently cut its profit forecast on the heels of disappointing fourth quarter same-store sales. The retailer also disclosed that its previously announced data breach involved many more people was much wider than it initially thought. More

7-Eleven adds low-cal breakfast sandwich
Supermarket News
7-Eleven has begun selling an egg white breakfast sandwich that contains just 180 calories. Priced at $1.99, the sandwich consists of egg whites, lean Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese on a whole wheat English muffin. At select stores, customers can request to have the sandwich toasted, or the sandwich can be microwaved in store or reheated at home.More

Creating a lifetime of customer love
By Emma Fitzpatrick
As a business, you need to sell your product. But being a business means far more than just your net profit. You need to be focused not just on getting new faces in the door, but also on bringing them back time and time again. After all, when it comes down to it, the people who buy your product run your business. Follow these tips below to make sure you and your business are fostering a lifetime of love with your customers. If your customers love your product, then you'll be in a prosperous business forever.More

New menu items are a hard sell with majority of consumers
Convenience Store News
Although restaurant operators heavily promote new additions to their menus, approximately 70 percent of consumers won't try new menu items, according to The NPD Group's new report, Menu Item Trial: Motivating First-Time and Repeat Orders. However, of the 30 percent who are "early adopters," 17 percent will order a brand-new item and 10 percent will try a limited-time offer item.More

Retail stores 'meet a human need, not just a commercial one'
Retail Customer Experience
The opening keynote at this year's National Retail Federation Big Show began not with a photo of a smartphone or a website or any other technology, but with a photo of a 17,000-year-old cave painting. In the session "Reimagining Main Street," Rick Caruso, founder and CEO of retail developer Caruso Affiliated, focused on the evolutionary background of retail and the human need to socialize, and talked at length about how retailers need to return their focus to it.More

Promotion to Divisional Merchandise Manager


I have been selected to be the new Divisional Merchandise Manager for Health, Baby and Household.

In the last eight years, it has been my honor and privilege to work with each of you in the food department in various positions. With your support, we have created sales that will reach nearly $90 million dollars for the fiscal year 2013, created 340 plus planograms, restructured the supply chain in both CONUS and OCONUS, established a food and candy credit program, and built a promotional calendar that will generate more than $8 million dollars in 2013 and social media events beyond our customers wildest dreams! You and your teams have embraced meaningful initiatives such as Sailor of the Year, Customer Appreciation, Wounded Warrior, and Navy Blue Holidays with great passion and enthusiasm! Together, we have accomplished so much throughout the years as partners and I am lucky to have had such phenomenal people to work with in the food categories.

Please accept my personal thanks for giving each and every day to those who have given so much, the Navy sailor and families! I am so grateful for the friendships and partnerships we have forged and hope to work with you in the future as I move forward.

All my best and very sincerely,
Diane MartinsenMore

Homeward Bound campaign welcomes service members home
Public Affairs
Service members and their families continually make sacrifices. Multiple deployments, long training exercises and constant states of readiness can add to the stress of not just being a service member, but a spouse or family member as well. In 2014, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is joining military communities around the world to celebrate the homecoming of America's brave warfighters by hosting a yearlong "Homeward Bound" campaign to honor those who serve.More

DOD focuses on healthy, active lifestyle for children
Before It's News
With the national rate of childhood obesity increasing, the Defense Department wants to ensure children in military families lead healthy and active lifestyles, the Defense Department's director of the office of family policy and children and youth said.More

MWR to kick off Pro Bowl with events for NFL fans
NFL players from all over the United States will soon arrive in Hawaii for the annual Pro Bowl Game. This year the format of the game has changed. It is no longer an AFC vs. NFC matchup, but a free-for-all including a Pro Bowl Draft that will diversify the rosters to include both AFC and NFC on a team. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam's Morale, Welfare and Recreation will host the Official NFL Pro Bowl Practice on Jan. 23 at Earhart Field, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.More

2013 year in review
Fort Drum
A lot happened in 2013. Click the headline above to take a look at the past year's activity in and around Fort Drum.More