ALA Executive Briefing
Mar. 6, 2015

Bid for more US defense funds gets chilly House reception
U.S. military officials seeking a big boost in defense spending received little encouragement from a House panel reviewing their bid for more funds, with one lawmaker saying the extra money would have to be cut "with you or ... without you."More

Pentagon: Another BRAC will save money
Military Times
The Pentagon is pushing for a new round of base closures geared specifically toward saving money. Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Installations John Conger told the House Appropriations Committee that the last round of closures was "not designed to save any money" and was more about rebalancing the force than cutting costs. "We look at the next round as an efficiency-driven one. In such a budget environment as we have today, it only makes sense to avoid spending money on excess," he said. More

Dempsey: Sequestration endangers defense strategy
U.S. Department of Defense
While the U.S. military remains strong, sequestration endangers the mission of protecting America and its interests, Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey told the Senate. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Secretary Ash Carter testified before the Armed Services Committee. Both men said the military would not be able to fulfill defense strategic guidance if sequestration triggers in October. More

Senior enlisted advisors: Uncertainty affects quality of life
U.S. Department of Defense
Service members and their families are concerned about potential sequester-caused cuts to the military's budget and possible changes to quality of life, pay and compensation programs, the services' senior enlisted advisors told a House panel. The Army's senior enlisted leader said adequate funding is key to showing soldiers how much leadership cares. "Caring for our people builds trust, and trust is built with predictability," Dailey said. This, he said, "is the unwritten contract" between the American people, its leaders and the Army's soldiers and civilians.More

VFW says ending sequestration is top 2016 priority
Members of the nation's oldest veterans' service organization will be lobbying to end sequestration when they appear before congressional committees and meetings with lawmakers in their offices. "Our members — all voting constituents — will use this face-to-face opportunity [with Congress] to demand ... an end to the sequester," VFW National Commander John W. Stroud said. With the U.S. still at war, the cuts required under the sequester will devastate military readiness, homeland security, the quality-of-life of military families and veterans, he said.More

The bottom line: Budget vs. commission
Military Officers Association of America
Within a few days of each other, the White House and the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission both released their ideas for transforming military pay and benefits. The administration's FY 2016 budget rehashes many proposals that don't attempt to modernize or reform pay and benefits — they simply continue to erode them. On the other hand, the MCRMC report contains 15 recommendations to totally overhaul pay and benefits. Some appear to be well thought out and have our support.More

Industry reps: DoD plan would 'destroy' commissaries
National Association for Uniformed Services
A NAUS ally in the fight to retain the Commissary benefit, the American Logistics Association, which represents manufacturers, distributors and brokers of products sold in commissaries and base exchanges, has released a position paper that contrasts DoD's plan to "wreck" commissaries with less onerous recommendations of a blue-ribbon panel to consolidate all base store operations to gain efficiencies. The Defense Department's fiscal 2016 budget request would slash taxpayer support of base grocery stores by $322 million in 2016 and by $1 billion next year, which the ALA says would "destroy" the shopping benefit. More

Army announces new Afghanistan deployments
Army Times
More than 2,300 soldiers from three major Army units will deploy to Afghanistan this spring and summer, officials have announced. The deployments are part of the regular rotation of forces to Afghanistan, where the mission in January transitioned to a train-and-advise mission called Resolute Support. About 10,000 U.S. troops are now in the country.More

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

Maintenance and Repair of Misc. Food Processing Equipment
Solicitation Number: HDEC04-15-R-0014. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Business Unit/Equip, & Maint Div (HDEC04).More

DeCA tackles shortages
The Defense Commissary Agency began airlifting certain perishable items and recently found viable local products to ease constraints in the pacific.More

DeCA expects several more months before Pacific commissaries return to normal
The Defense Commissary Agency
The Defense Commissary Agency says it will take a few months to stabilize product deliveries to its stores in the Pacific as shipments from West Coast ports return to normal schedules.More

New commissary planned for NAS Jax as part of $37 million renovation
Jacksonville Business Journal
Naval Air Station Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida, is working on several expansion projects on base, including a nearly $30 million 115,000 square foot commissary.More

Report: Target to revamp groceries to focus on younger shoppers
Reuters via CNBC
Target has zeroed in on seven grocery categories, including granola, yogurt and craft beer, to attract younger shoppers, urban dwellers and Hispanics, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.More

Beyond Meat CEO: 'We're building 1 of the great American meat companies (from plants)'
Beyond Meat — the California-based firm that claims to have unlocked the secret to making "near-perfect" replicas of meat from plants — says that in future, meat-free products won't be confined to a "vegetarian" section, but just part of the broader "protein" set.More

Still doing your own grocery shopping? That's so 2014
USA Today
From steaks to lobsters and even cars, it seems you can buy almost anything online. But how about a gallon of milk or a carton of eggs? Money expert Matt Granite says there isn't a one-size-fits-all fix for general grocery shopping online. But if you live in certain cities and areas, you could be in luck.More

How grocers can harness the power of meat
Progressive Grocer
The analysis recently came full circle with discussions on broad meat trends, the importance of supermarket food service and how shoppers view the meat department bringing the 2015 Annual Meat Conference to a close. More

Don't forget herbs, spices: Natural flavor growth goes beyond high-intensity flavors
The trend for natural foods has seen alternatives to synthetic flavors take center stage, but growth in this sector has been matched by increasing use of herbs, spices and seasonings, say experts.More

Connecting veterans to jobs through Starbucks New Military Family Stores
Employing two Marine Corps veterans, a former Navy machinist and two military spouses, a Starbucks store in San Diego has among the highest percentage of partners (employees) with personal connections to the U.S. Armed Forces. It's fitting that this Starbucks location has received a special designation as the company's first Military Family Store.More

GMO apples: Coming soon to a grocery store near you
By Archita Datta Majumdar
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved two new genetically modified apples — Arctic Granny Smith and Arctic Golden — for sale in the United States. Amidst the GMO war that is raging across the country, this new development may well be fodder for more debates. Typically, apples turn brown pretty fast once they are cut. Developed by a Canadian biotech company, Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc., these new types are genetically altered to prevent them from browning after they're sliced or get bruised. 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.

Hotel Details
The headquarters hotel for this event is the Hilton Arlington in Arlington, Texas. A discounted group rate is available to attendees. For further details, visit our website.More

Tax refunds? Consumers want to save, not spend
Don't expect consumers to race to the malls to spend their tax refunds this year. A survey from the National Retail Federation reports that of the 66 percent of Americans expecting some cash back from Uncle Sam, most intend to save it. More

The Wal-Mart headline you probably missed
The world's largest retailer recently created quite a buzz when it said it would raise the hourly pay for 500,000 employees to $9 an hour in April, followed by an hourly wage increase for current associates to $10 or more in February 2016. More

TJ Maxx, Marshalls to follow Wal-Mart in raising pay
The Associated Press via ABC News
The owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods stores became the latest retailer to boost pay for its U.S. workers, putting pressure on other chains to do the same.More

Shoppers to retailers: 'We're back!'
At long last, shoppers are heading back to stores, judging by a slew of earnings reports in February from retailers.More

Wal-Mart pledges $100 million to boost jobs
One week after announcing plans to increase the pay of low-wage workers to at least $9 an hour, Wal-Mart is delivering more good news on the job front: The company will donate $16 million to seven nonprofit groups focused on helping entry-level U.S. workers in retail and related industries.More

West Coast port gridlock hits inventory at Macy's, Home Depot
The New York Times (tiered subscription model)
Macy's and Home Depot said that they were still trying to untangle gridlocked shipments at West Coast ports, a logistics nightmare that has affected merchants across the country.More

Shoppers return to chain stores
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
Shoppers are making a comeback especially to retailers catering to lower income Americans, a sign that a battered segment of consumers is on the mend.More

Retailers are cautious after solid holiday
The Dallas Morning News
Retailers are sending a clear message midway through earnings season: They're cautious about 2015. Major U.S. chain stores are reporting improved 2014 holiday-quarter results, with profits collectively up about 10.9 percent so far, but most have lowered guidance for this year.More

Consumers increase payment via technology, want drone deliveries
As American consumers grow more reliant on e-commerce, they're also increasingly open minded about innovations: A new survey reports that 66 percent expect to have a package delivered by drones in the next five years, for example. And cash continues to lose its clout.More

Kmart testing smaller 'K-fresh' format for supercenters
Supermarket News (registration required)
Kmart is flipping several of its remaining Super Kmart supercenters to a smaller, less-service oriented food format it is calling "K-fresh." More

RadioShack to sell name along with $20 million opening bid
Bloomberg Business
RadioShack Corp.'s biggest shareholder, already seeking to buy hundreds of stores from the bankrupt electronics retailer, agreed to a separate sale of the chain's name, with bids to start at $20 million. More

Cornell: Food will be 'critically important' to Target's future
Supermarket News
Food will be "a critically important area of opportunity" for Target Corp., Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO, told analysts recently. "Food is very important to our guests, and we know food trips drive traffic," he said. "We recognize we have a lot of work to do as we begin to build our reinvention plans for food." More

A menu to increase food and beverage sales
Convenience Store News
A menuboard that has been optimized and strategically designed gets customers to spend more. An optimized menuboard can also shave precious seconds off the customer's order time, resulting in increased throughput and customer satisfaction. More

Weight concerns hold weight with C-store shoppers
Convenience Store News
Convenience stores may not have a reputation for being a shopping destination for "weight-friendly" products, but C-store customers care about purchasing them. Bars are particularly popular when it comes to offering nutrition while being a tasty snack, according to a new General Mills Convenience & Foodservice survey. More

Does 'disruptive technology' affect C-store value?
Thirty-eight percent of convenience-store owners and 31 percent of gas-station owners surveyed by business-for-sale online marketplace believe that "disruptive technology" companies represent a threat to the value of small businesses.More

When to upgrade your foodservice equipment
Convenience Store News
Foodservice equipment in a convenience store takes a beating, especially in high-volume stores, so it is important to properly maintain the equipment to yield the longest life possible. More

RaceTrac insiders steer frozen beverage refresh
Convenience Store News
Three months after asking customers their opinions on a possible rebranding of its frozen drink offering, RaceTrac Petroleum Inc. is unveiling its new Numb Skull image. More

AdvancePierre acquires stuffed sandwich maker
Convenience Store News
AdvancePierre Foods will acquire the manufacturing assets of Better Bakery LLC, a Valencia, California-based manufacturer of premium stuffed sandwiches. Production will relocate to AdvancePierre's Caseyville, Illinois, facility. More

MWR offers unique opportunities to service members abroad
Eighty service members from the U.S. Marine Corps and Navy currently deployed as the Black Sea Rotational Force, and U.S. Army soldiers with the Black Sea Area Support Team, who signed up for the overnight trip hardly expressed any disappointment of their assignment. Thanks to the MWR, service members were able to spend the weekend learning about the history and culture of Romania while visiting Peleș Castle and Bran Castle. More

Arizona: CWFC designed to improve employee morale
The Fort Huachuca Scout
There's an organization on post designed to enhance the quality of life for Fort Huachuca, Arizona, federal civilian employees during and outside of duty hours.More

Maryland: Healthy Base Initiative to launch new projects
The Capital
A 24-hour fitness center and new cardio machines are two of the projects that Fort Meade, Maryland, will undertake with its remaining Healthy Base Initiative funding. The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will use the funding to transform Murphy Field House into a 24-hour fitness center.More