ALA Executive Briefing
Feb. 13, 2015

Lawmakers talk big cuts for Pentagon budget
Military Times
Big cuts to the Pentagon budget that once would have been unthinkable were openly discussed recently on Capitol Hill as lawmakers summoned a panel of experts to weigh in on the White House's newly released 2016 defense budget request.More

Ash Carter's team taking shape
Defense News
As Ash Carter nears his widely anticipated confirmation to become the next U.S. defense secretary, the team that he will bring with him to the Pentagon is already taking shape.More

Key Republican: Congress will repeal sequestration cuts
Federal Times
Congress will likely act to repeal the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration during the budgeting process, one of the top Republicans on the Armed Services committee said Feb. 9.More

Senators receptive to changes in military benefits
The Hill
Senators on the Armed Services Committee are open to the recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel that called for reforming military pay and compensation, suggesting that the proposals could be adopted in next year's defense budget. More

Active Army drops below 500,000 soldiers
Army Times
Personnel strength of the Regular Army has dropped below 500,000 for the first time in 10 years, with 498,642 soldiers being listed on active duty in the most recent official headcount of the force.More

Military compensation commission ideas draw bipartisan praise on Hill
Stars and Stripes
There is rising confidence across the Senate and House armed services committees that 2015 will be the year Congress passes legislation to modernize military compensation. As military folks try to grasp the complex commission plans, Congress this week also received a fresh set of proposals from the Obama administration, part of its fiscal 2016 defense budget request, to continue to dampen growth in basic pay and allowances. More

Obama boosts defense spending, but faces uphill battle
Stars and Stripes
President Barack Obama released his fiscal 2016 budget request, asking for $534.3 billion for the Pentagon's base budget plus an additional $50.9 billion for "overseas contingency operations." For those who don't want to scour federal budget documents, here are eight things you need to know about the president's budget request.More

Pentagon seeks increase spending on weapons, cuts in troops
Military Times
The Pentagon is seeking an overall budget increase next year, but spending on military personnel will remain essentially flat, squeezed by cuts in the size of the force and recent efforts to scale back troops' pay and benefits. The bulk of that reduction stems from a drawdown in the size of the total force, in particular the Army and Marine Corps, which have shed more than 70,000 service members over the past several years and brought the total size of the active-duty force down to about 1.3 million troops. Specifically, this year's budget projects that the total force will shrink by another 11,900 troops. More

More out-of-pocket expenses to hit military families
Association of the United States Army
The fiscal year 2016 defense budget announced Feb. 2, includes modest increases in military basic pay and housing allowances that could leave some military families holding on a little tighter to their wallets. Commissary subsidies would also be reduced by the 2016 budget, which calls for a $100 million reduction. Budget documents say the savings would come from "efficiencies and operating changes that do not require legislative changes." Military families should expect to see some reductions in operating days and hours.More

White House requests modest pay increase for troops and civilians
Defense One
The Obama administration's fiscal 2016 plan would give troops a slight increase in pay over last year's 1 percent bump, while federal workers would receive their highest pay raise in six years. Since 2011, military pay raises have been less than 2 percent annually, and after a three-year pay freeze in 2011-2013, civilian were given a 1 percent pay raise last year. Raises throughout the Obama administration have been historically small. More

Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area (RSHA), and Custodial Operations at the Key West NAS Commissary
Solicitation Number: HDEC08-14-R-0012. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08). More

Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area, and Custodial Operations for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Fort Leonard Wood Commissary
Solicitation Number: HDEC08-15-R-0007. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08).More

Lawn/Grounds Maintenance Services
Lawn/Grounds Maintenance Services at Harrison Village Commissary in Indiana. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of May 1, 2015, through April 31, 2016, and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through April 31, 2020. More

Armored Car Service
Armored Car Services, Kingsville NAS Commissary. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of May 1, 2015, through April 30, 2016, and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through April 30, 2020.More

Supermarket promotions boost unhealthy food sales more than healthier options
U.K. supermarket price promotions are more likely to lead to increased sales of less healthy foods than healthier choices, according to a study published recently.More

Nearly 100 more items set to join Commissary Value Brand
With nearly 100 more items set to be added to the Commissary Value Brand program, military patrons will have even more opportunities to save, according to the Defense Commissary Agency's senior enlisted adviser to the director.More

Grocery shopping might be less painful with this smart cart
Cambridge Consultants, a product development group based in the U.K., is showing off a connected shopping cart that can tell a retailer where you are in a store within three feet. The smart carts are equipped with Bluetooth radios and sensors to track the cart's location so store owners can offer promotions and eliminate checkout lines.More

Organic milk shortage hitting US grocery stores
FOX News
As more Americans are opting to buy organic milk at the supermarket, demand is now outpacing supply leading to a nationwide shortage.More

Study: Supermarket share of local food sales grows
The Packer
Supermarkets are stealing some local food demand from farmers markets, a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report indicates. Called "Trends in U.S. local and regional food systems," the 89-page USDA Economic Research Service report said inflation-adjusted sales through farmers markets did not increase between 2007 and 2012, while overall sales of local food increased by nearly 30 percent in roughly the same period.More

Wal-Mart expands online grocery shopping efforts after strong repeat business
Wal-Mart expanded its online grocery-shopping service, which allows customers to shop online then pick up at their local stores, to a new market: Huntsville, Alabama. The move comes only days after Wal-Mart brought the same service to a handful of stores in the Phoenix area, as well. More

UnitedHealthcare becomes 3rd major insurer to partner with grocery stores
Healthcare Dive
UnitedHealthcare is now the third health insurance company to provide members with a program aimed at empowering them to choose better foods when they go shopping — and hopefully improve their health as a result.More

Commissary Value Brand program
The Commissary Value Brand Program offers military members and their families significant savings on store brand items that is equal to or better than local store brands or private labeled items outside the gate.More

Campbell Organic soups broaden push into fast-growing natural foods
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
Campbell Soup Co. started selling the first line of organic soups under its namesake brand, seeking to boost lackluster soup sales and broaden its push into the fast-growing natural foods-segment.More

How supermarkets choose where to open ... and where to close
The Guardian
Tesco's decision on which stores to close says a lot about how supermarkets operate in cities. Why are supermarkets stacked two or three deep in some areas, while other communities in the same city are neglected?More

Supermarket in a box gives staff chance to shop at work
NFC World+
Employees at chip maker STMicroelectronics' Catania office in Italy can now order and pay for fresh food, groceries and personal hygiene products from their mobile phone and then collect their order from a unique "supermarket in a box" based in the office car park.More

Natural Grocers and Instacart partner to offer grocery delivery
CNN Money
Instacart, the fast-growing grocery delivery service whose personal shoppers hand pick and deliver items from trusted local stores, announced that it has partnered with Natural Grocers to provide grocery delivery service to customers in Portland, Oregon, in as little as one hour.More

2015 Exchange Impact Workshop: 'Elevating the Experience'
March 17- 18
Hilton Arlington Hotel
Arlington, Texas

If you do business with the Exchange, you do not want to be left out of this inaugural meeting. For the first time, more than 45 associates of the Exchange will be presenting their categories and collaborating in townhouse forum workshops to improve go to market strategies. From store repositioning discussions to individual category workshops, you do not want to be left out.

For further information about the workshop, click here. To register and view the preliminary agenda, go to Space is limited, so register today! The choice to be involved is yours.More

Staples buys Office Depot for $6 billion to keep pace with change
The Associated Press via ABC News
Evolving shopping habits have forced yet another retailer to think outside of the box. Staples, the nation's largest "big box" office supply chain, announced that it's spending about $6 billion to buy its second-ranked rival, Office Depot.More

Amazon opens its 1st-ever staffed pickup and drop-off center
Chain Store Age (subscriber article)
Amazon confirmed reports that it is piloting co-branded pickup sites with universities with the announcement that it has opened its first-ever staffed pickup and drop-off on-campus location, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, and plans to open similar sites at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.More

For healthy sales, sell wellness, retailers told
Wellness sells. Americans are on a quest to feel good and get healthier, and almost every kind of retailer can jump on the wellness wagon, according to WSL Strategic Retail, which has been studying the trend over the past decade. More

J.C. Penney partners with InStyle on new in-store salon concept
Chain Store Age
J.C. Penney is partnering with InStyle magazine to reinvent its 850 in-store salons nationwide in a move that could help the retailer pump up its volume and increase traction with younger shoppers. The new concept, called The Salon by InStyle, will make its debut in July, at 15 locations across Chicago, Dallas, Miami and Los Angeles.More

Restaurateurs moonlighting in stores
STORES Magazine via NRF
Retailers and fashion brands worldwide are convinced that having food in their stores can go a long way toward keeping customers in the store — and spending. Designers, like Ralph Lauren and Armani, have opened restaurants and cafes within their locations; Macy's is on trend as well, and the aesthetic of these eateries blends seamlessly with their designer origins.More

Survey: Majority of retailers plan to boost customer experience spend in 2015
Chain Store Age
More than 80 percent of retailers plan to increase their customer experience spending in 2015, according to a new survey from SDL, a provider of global customer experience, and Econsultancy.More

RadioShack files Chapter 11 but brand to live on in deal with Standard General and Sprint
The Associated Press via ABC News
Struggling consumer electronics chain RadioShack, founded nearly a century ago, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It plans to sell 1,500 to 2,400 stores to its largest shareholder, investment firm Standard General, and has filed a motion to proceed with closing the remainder of its 4,000 U.S. stores.More

Report: Amazon, Sprint eye RadioShack stores
Chain Store Age
As the New York Stock Exchange delists trading of its shares, beleaguered consumer electronics retailer RadioShack Corp. reportedly has at least two suitors interested in buying some of its stores. According to Bloomberg, both Inc. and Sprint Corp. are in discussions with RadioShack about possibly acquiring some stores, with RadioShack shuttering whatever stores were left.More

How are lower gas prices affecting C-store sales?
New data shows consumers are taking the recent lower gasoline prices as an opportunity to treat themselves, according to a survey of convenience-store retailers conducted by Wells Fargo Securities.More

Don't neglect the 3 W's driving category management
Convenience stores average 160 million transactions a day (that's more than half the U.S. population), and 60 percent of nonalcoholic purchases are consumed within 10 minutes and 80 percent are consumed within an hour.More

Strengths, struggles and strategies of C-store tobacco
Regulation, a crowded backbar, prepricing and vaping — all these topics and a dozen more were covered during a rapid-fire panel discussion on tobacco in convenience stores at CSP's Convenience Retailing University in Dallas.More

Millennials are excited about C-stores
Forever 21 may be a fashion-retail brand to most, but for convenience store retailers, it's an important demographic trend to stay ahead of, according to research conducted by Technomic Inc. in partnership with CSP magazine.More

Massive' overhaul set for Wawa
Embarking on an initiative unprecedented in the company's more than 50-year history as a convenience store retailer, Wawa Inc. has launched the Wawa Remodel Program, a massive effort to remodel older, legacy stores to reflect Wawa's latest design, technology and food service offering.More

Obama proposes doubling tobacco tax
In a move that will not be welcomed by tobacco retailers, President Barack Obama in his $4 trillion budget proposal for 2016 has proposed to nearly double taxes on cigarettes and small cigars to $1.95 per pack from $1.01 per pack, and to index the tax for inflation, according to a Politico report.More

Hawaii: New restaurant set for golf course
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Morale, Welfare and Recreation has released more details about the new restaurant coming to the Navy-Marine Golf Course. The Seven Palms Bar & Grille closed last weekend, along with the 19th Puka snack bar.More

Hawaii: MWR events celebrate Valentine's Day
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Morale, Welfare and Recreation will hold activities in honor of Valentine's Day.More

More out-of-pocket expenses to hit military families
The fiscal year 2016 defense budget announced Feb. 2 includes modest increases in military basic pay and housing allowances that could leave some military families holding on a little tighter to their wallets. More

Some funding restored to family programs
Military Times
Defense officials have beefed up their budget request for family programs and services next year by about $400 million, in some cases restoring funding to levels at or close to where they were two years ago.More