ALA Executive Briefing
Jan. 24, 2014

Senate bill would restore COLA reduction for military retirees
Navy Times
The Senate is poised to consider a massive veterans bill that not only would improve education, health and employment benefits for former troops, it would restore the cost-of-living adjustment reduction for military retirees set by the Bipartisan Budget Act.More

Senate to hold hearing on pending COLA cuts
Military Times
Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., recently scheduled a hearing to examine the impact of the pending cost-of-living adjustment cuts for military retirees. The Senate Armed Services Committee will hear from Defense Department officials and military advocacy groups on the COLA reductions, which were implemented in December as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act.More

Hard decisions await new House Defense Appropriations chair
Stars and Stripes
The man at the center of the new defense spending bill never intended to be there. But the death of an iconic congressman left open a coveted spot in the Capitol Hill hierarchy. After 18 years in Congress, Rodney Frelinghuysen has taken on the chairmanship of the powerful House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, the purse strings of the Defense Department.More

What will Congress cut to 'Support Our Troops'?
National Journal
Congress undid some of its planned cuts to veterans' benefits in the latest spending bill, but it also left the vast majority of the reductions in place. And in so doing, it ensured that the white-hot controversy over benefits will not go away any time soon.More

Healthy base initiative: Childhood obesity — reversing the epidemic
Aerotech News
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Today, children live a very different lifestyle than their counterparts of 30 years ago. Buses and cars have replaced walking or riding bicycles to school; recess time at school has been shortened to accommodate more time for standardized test preparation; afternoon playtime has been traded for TV, video games and the Internet; and home-cooked meals have been exchanged for quick and easy fast foods.More

Tyson Foods buys Warren-based Bosco's Pizza
Detroit Free Press
More than 25 years after founding Bosco's Pizza as a carry-out pizzeria, Mark Artinian has sold the company to Arkansas-based food giant Tyson Foods. Over the years Artinian transformed Bosco's from pizza restaurant into a food distribution company best known for its Original Bosco Sticks that are sold in school cafeterias, stadiums, grocery stores and other venues across the country.More

Food back in focus for Unilever
Food Business News
After steadily shedding food brands over the past few years, Unilever P.L.C. said it is now ready to recover its position in the category. "The actions we've taken so far have stabilized performance, and we are ready to accelerate food beyond the 1.5 percent per year on average that we've done over the last five years," said Paul Polman, chief executive officer.More

Carried-from-home breakfasts on the rise
Progressive Grocer
A positive correlation exists between the health of the economy and the prevalence of carried-from-home breakfast occasions, so finds food and beverage market research from The NPD Group. Carried breakfasts were on the rise until 2008, but as the recession hit and unemployment rose, the trend began to decline. As the economy continues to recover, however, carried-from-home breakfast occasions are seeing a slight uptick, and NPD predicts continued growth.More

Fresh pork products
Federal Business Opportunities
This is not a solicitation or request for proposals. This is a sources south synopsis only; no contract will be awarded from this synopsis. The NAICS Code is 311611.
This Request for Information is issued in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 15.201(e). The Defense Commissary Agency is seeking potential sources and information in anticipation of a requirement to provide and deliver program buy fresh chilled pork products to store locations in the Continental United States to include Alaska and Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.More

Shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area, custodial, residual grocery services
Federal Business Opportunities
Furnish all supervision, personnel, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area, custodial, and residual grocery operations for the Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Hood II (Warrior Way) Commissary, located in Killeen, Texas, in accordance with the Government's Performance Work Statement. The solicitation includes a base period (Aug. 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015) and four 1-year option periods. This acquisition is a 100 percent set-aside for small business concerns. More

The star of the party
Grocery Headquarters
One of the biggest at-home party days of the year is on the horizon. Super Bowl Sunday. Game day parties are not just about the action: Super Bowl Sunday is as much a culmination of recipe experimentation and snack ideas as it is the finale of the football season. One key fact that dictates a party's menu, according to industry observers, is that consumers will not bring something new; they want tried and true recipes.More

Organizations, Congress urge Obama to back labeling GMOs
Progressive Grocer
More than 200 organizations and businesses encouraged President Barack Obama to keep his 2007 campaign promise to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods, whose ingredients are known as GMOs, or genetically modified organisms. Joining the chorus of voices who support labeling such foods were members of Congress, led by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., who sent a letter on the issue to Obama.More

Volume, quality of raspberries and blackberries improve
The Packer
Grower-shippers expect raspberry and blackberry volumes and quality to return to seasonal norms after shaky starts in Mexico. Raspberry volumes are up slightly over last season at the same time for Salinas, Calif.-based Naturipe Farms LLC, said Scott Norman, director of blackberry and raspberry product management. Mexican blackberry volumes were typical for this time of year as of Jan. 21, Norman said. More

Wal-Mart joins farm workers' rights program
Supermarket News
Wal-Mart and its Florida tomato suppliers have pledged to improve pay for tomato farm workers as part of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' Fair Food Program. The retailer's commitments include working to expand the Fair Food Program's principles to tomatoes grown outside of Florida and to other crops; acknowledging Fair Food compliant suppliers with longer term purchase commitments; ensuring tomato price premiums are passed on to workers; and supporting a higher wage for tomato harvesters.More

Survey: Consumers want to manage calories, won't give up favorite foods
A survey of American, British and French consumers by Truvia Natural Sweetener found that French consumers claim to eat the healthiest, while American and British consumers are more likely to reward themselves with food and drink. But all three consumer groups hold fast to their favorite indulgences.More

Who comes 1st? Customers or employees?
By Mel Kleinman
Who comes first, the customer or the employee? Some argue that running a business is pointless without customers and that making the customer happy comes first. 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.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.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

Target tried antitheft cards
The Wall Street Journal
Target Corp. Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel is calling on retailers and banks to adopt chip-based credit-card technology to better protect shoppers. But the debate was different a decade ago, when the executive was on the other side of the issue as Target pulled the plug on a $40 million, three-year program that did just that.More

7 things you need to know about Costco
U.S. News & World Report
Many people shop at Costco because they want good value on the more than 3,700 items in stock. Yet few people know just how Costco is able to give its customers such quality and value, or what makes Costco different from other wholesale companies.More

Target tests small store for urban shoppers
The New York Times
Target wants to be a bigger part of city living, by experimenting with going smaller. The discount retailer, which has long focused on large stores in suburban markets, completed a lease this past week on its smallest store yet, a 20,000-square-foot location in Minneapolis, a test store for a new format called TargetExpress.More

Stores confront new world of reduced shopper traffic
The Wall Street Journal
Best Buy Co. recently became the latest retailer to chime in with weak holiday results. Like other chains, the electronics retailer blamed the race to offer the deepest discounts, a game of brinkmanship that hurt profit margins and held back revenue. But there is a deeper malaise at work: A long-term change in shopper habits has reduced store traffic — perhaps permanently — and shifted pricing power away from malls and big-box retailers.More

Target to testify before Congress about breach
Chain Store Age
Target Corp. will reportedly testify about its recent massive holiday data breach in a Congressional hearing in early February 2014. According to Reuters, a Congressional commerce, manufacturing and trade subcommittee headed by Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., will investigate large data breaches and their effect on consumers.More

Best Buy holiday revenues fall 2.5 percent
Chain Store Age
Best Buy Co., Inc. saw its revenues for the nine-week holiday period ended Jan. 4, 2014 fall 2.5 percent from the same period a year earlier. Holiday revenues for the 2013 season were $11.45 billion, compared to $11.75 billion in the 2012 season.More

Year in review: 2013
This is Retail
The National Retail Federation launched the following website as a way to share the stories of retail careers, community and innovation through the eyes of the people who work inside the industry every day. The following are a few of their favorite moments of 2013.More

eBay Enterprise debuts ship-from-store solution
Chain Store Age
eBay Enterprise has launched a ship-from-store solution, which the company calls a game-changing initiative that retailers can deploy within 99 days to effectively leverage their physical store inventories while gaining advantages in margin and shipping cost. More

Online shopping, discounts boost holiday sales
The Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report
If there were discounts to be had and online shopping available, shoppers were more than willing to open their wallets this past holiday season. Last years sales in November and December rose 3.8 percent according to the National Retail Federation.More

Holiday hiring hits 14-year high, followed by layoff concerns
Los Angeles Times
Retailers taking on an army of seasonal workers in December helped push overall holiday hiring levels to a 14-year peak this year, according to a new report. But the better-than-expected increase of 801,100 jobs over the final three months of the year is now raising concerns about layoffs, according to consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas. More

An explanation of the 53-week year
National Retail Federation
Dividing the retail calendar into 52 weeks of seven days each, or 364 days, leaves an extra day each year to be accounted for. As a result every five to six years a week is added to the fiscal calendar. During the last few years this anomaly has occurred in FY'00, FY'06, FY'12 and will occur in FY'17. More

RadioShack names Dollar General's Feray chief financial officer
RadioShack Corp., the electronics chain that's posted seven straight quarterly losses, named a Dollar General Corp. executive as its chief financial officer. John Feray will join as CFO on Feb. 6, the Fort Worth, Texas-based retailer recently said. He'll replace Holly Etlin, an interim CFO from consulting firm AlixPartners. Etlin will continue to work with RadioShack, the company said. More

Retail industry security hacks may surge in 2014
USA Today
The massive security breach that hit Target over the holidays may be only the beginning for the retail industry. Attempts to hack into retailers' computer networks and steal credit card data and other customer information are likely to surge this year, cyber security experts say in the wake of the attacks on Target and luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus.More

Shattering retail norms
J ust when you think you've got the retail business figured out, along comes a player — or three — that breaks the rules, challenges long-held perceptions and shatters norms. Meet STORY, Indochino and OpenSky. Each business is re-conceiving retail in a different way and each has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in its own niche.More

What I really do: Mystery Tackle Box
This Is Retail
What does the CEO of an e-commerce operation do, exactly? Good question! Mystery Tackle Box, a highly innovative monthly subscription service providing fishing tackle and lures, shows us the real day-to-day life of an e-commerce boss.More

Relieving your biggest management headaches
By Harry J. Friedman
As a retail business owner or manager, it often seems that you're so busy trying to put out daily fires that you let certain sales standards slide. It's up to you to decide whether you're willing to accept these behaviors or put an end to the headaches for good. Take the short quiz below, and then let me give you some tips to help you on your way to stress-free managing. Think of these tips as the first sip of the tonic that will make your business stronger than ever.More

Visual content marketing and most-searched retail brands
Search Engine Journal
Visual content marketing has transformed retailers — in a good way. With Google's Hummingbird and other changes de-emphasizing keywords, it is more important than ever to focus on topical authority and social networks to ensure visibility. As brands shift from "talking at you" to "talking with you," the use of relevant visual content marketing will define the winners and losers in 2014.More

A more upbeat outlook
Convenience Store News
With an improving labor picture, the national economy as measured by the Gross Domestic Product is projected to grow "in the high 2 or low 3 [percent]" range this year, according to Convenience Store News' consulting economist Maureen Maguire. A good point of estimate for 2014 would be 3 percent. That would be a slight improvement over the estimated 2.1-percent growth in GDP in 2013.More

Why 'green' still matters on direct mail and packaging
The Digital Nirvana
Research into the purchase of "green" consumer products shows that overall, consumer awareness and value of green product development is growing even as their commitment to actually paying more for green products is waning. Consumers like to think of themselves as being green, but their actual purchasing behavior should not be taken for granted.More

Vendor support services

The Exchange is implementing VendorNet Dropship Manager to automate dropship order processing and communication with its dropship vendors. VendorNet Dropship Manager is simple, easy-to-use software that manages the flow of information between retailers like the Exchange and vendors like you that fulfill dropship orders directly to end customers. VendorNet Dropship Manager is accessed via the Internet (no software to install). It delivers your orders to you via a VendorNet-enabled the Exchange Web portal allowing you to print your orders locally and communicate order information including shipping information and invoicing, back to the Exchange.

Working with VendorNet is fast and easy. The only thing you need is a PC, an Internet connection and a printer.

The Exchange and VendorNet's goal is to provide you with an intuitive tool that helps you streamline your dropship processes, ship orders faster and invoice quicker. Whether you have sophisticated business systems or just simple business processes, VendorNet will work closely with you to ensure a smooth transition that will ultimately make it easier to do business with the Exchange.

Getting started with VendorNet Dropship Manager

  1. VendorNet Support Service Fee
  2. VendorNet Set-up Options
  3. "Go Live" with VendorNet
  4. Ongoing Support & Training
*Fees may adjust downward over the contract year based on the total Exchange dropship vendor network order volume. Fees reset annually.

Click here for more info on VendorNet Dropship Manager.

Click here for the Vendor Setup Request Form.More

Army/Air Force Exchange: Reporting for duty
Modern Materials Handling
The base Exchange store is both a perk and tradition of military life. Every day, millions of active duty and retired service personnel and their families shop at the Exchange for everything from candy bars to lawn mowers. Merchandise is typically less expensive than similar product in civilian stores and often carries no sales tax. What's more, most profits from the store are used to support community activities aimed at improving morale among service members and their families.More

Navy Exchange associates cater to customers
The Florida Times-Union
Since its inception in 1946, the Navy Exchange Service Command's goal has been to make every patron "a customer for life." "To accomplish that, we work hard everyday to become your first choice for shopping," said Marsha Brooks, Navy Exchange general manager at NAS Jacksonville. "Our mission has always been to provide NEX customers with quality goods and services at a savings – as well as contribute to Navy quality of life programs."More

Fort Meade Base Guide 2014
Welcome to Fort George G. Meade, Md., an installation dedicated to providing quality support to service members, Department of Defense civilian employees, family members and military retirees. Every day, more than 100,000 people seek the services Fort Meade offers, including more than 60,000 military retirees who live in the area. Its primary mission is to provide a wide range of services, including the required infrastructure to ensure a safe and secure environment to 116 partner organizations from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, as well as to several federal agencies, including the National Security Agency, Environmental Protection Agency, Defense Media Activity, Defense Information Systems Agency, the Defense Courier Service, and the U.S. Cyber Command. More