ALA Executive Briefing
Mar. 14, 2014

Pentagon push for more money looks like a losing war
National Defense Magazine
The Pentagon's budget request for next fiscal year has been slammed for being awkward, confusing and in violation of the law. Pundits' sneering aside, the only opinions that matter to the Defense Department are those of congressional members who might be on the fence about giving the Pentagon more money than it is allowed under current law.More

Pentagon officials: We need more base closures
Stars and Stripes
Each military branch has excess capacity and needs another round of base realignment and closure, defense officials recently told a House panel. Appearing before the House Appropriations Committee's Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Subcommittee, officials noted varying amounts of excess capacity on U.S. bases, and sought help.More

DoD budget: Expect big changes in 5-year spending priorities
Defense News
Just before Maj. Gen. Jim Martin, the U.S. Air Force budget director, walked into the Pentagon briefing room on March 4, an aide slipped him a note. The paper said that if a reporter asked about the future of the service's Combat Rescue Helicopter program, say that Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James just made the decision to keep the program alive. Thirty-four minutes into his briefing on the 2015 budget proposal, in which CRH wasn't mentioned, the question came.More

A defense budget based on hope
The Washington Post
If, as the Obama administration is convinced, the United States will no longer conduct "long and large stability operations" in foreign countries, then the defense budget it has proposed for next year makes some logical choices. Troop strength, particularly in the Army, is being cut — to the lowest level since before World War II — so that money can be spent on new technology, cyber operations and special operations forces, which will be expanded.More

How the Army plans to thin the ranks
Army Times
If you've been hoping for a chance to voluntarily end your contract and collect a payout, don't hold your breath. Even as the Army braces for a potential drop to 420,000 soldiers, leadership is intent on avoiding the use of voluntary separation incentives that the service has offered in the past.More

Air Force details fleet cuts, states hardest hit
Air Force Times
The Air Force recently announced specifics on planned cuts to its fleet over the next five years, including 50 F-15Cs heading to retirement and multiple MQ-1 Predator units upgrading to the newer Reaper drone.More

Iced seafood display bins
Federal Business Opportunities
This solicitation is being issued as a 100 percent small business set-aside. The solicitation is for 52 iced seafood display bins to be delivered to 14 Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the Continental United States. A purchase order is contemplated. The Request for Quote will be posted on FedBizOpps at Quoters may obtain a copy of the solicitation at this site.More

Proposed military budget cuts could hurt lower ranking soldiers
The Augusta Chronicle via GOPUSA
Though price comparisons conducted by the Defense Commissary Agency show that customers on average save $2.6 billion, or 30 percent on their grocery bills, military families could soon see a steady rise in prices if they shop on post. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced major cuts in his department's 2015 budget last week that would cut the $1.4 billion taxpayer subsidy military food stores use to charge their customers less for merchandise by $1 billion over three years.More

Commissary fruit, vegetable prices may soar in some Pacific stores
Navy Times
Commissary officials are floating a proposal that could cause the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables to skyrocket in stores in Guam, Japan and South Korea. The Defense Commissary Agency’s request for proposals to the produce industry has caught the attention of Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee's military personnel panel, who has fired off a letter to Joseph Jeu, DeCA director, asking him to delay the pending RFP and re-evaluate the available market research data.More

Digging deeper into how the proposed budget will impact military families
National Military Family Association
We're starting to get a better idea of what the 2015 Budget Proposal, released by the Department of Defense means for military families. The proposal impacts service member pay, allowances, and other programs including TRICARE, the commissary, and Basic Allowance for Housing. The following is breakdown of the proposal. More

Food preparation tables
Federal Business Opportunities
This Request for Quotes is being issued as 100 percent total small business set-aside. The solicitation is for food prep tables to be delivered to Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the Continental United States, and Outside the Continental United States. The equipment going OCONUS will be required to be shipped to a Port of Embarkation in Stockton, Calif. More

Taco Bell, Kraft expand grocery deal with new items
Advertising Age
Got a hankering for a Taco Bell Taco Grande, but can't get to one of the chain's 5,500 locations? Just buy a "dinner kit" at grocery stores to make one at home. That's one of the new products from Kraft Foods Group and Yum Brands' Taco Bell. What started as a few items on the shelf in the grocery store in 1996 has turned into a partnership that offers 28 Taco Bell-branded products ranging from sauces to "dessert kits" that only require the addition of ice cream.More

The re-urbanization of America
Grocery Headquarters
Americans once flocked to the suburbs in search of a better, easier life. Now, it seems as if the reverse is true as more and more people are living in cities across the country — and for a longer time period. This urban growth brings new opportunities for grocery retailers that can be flexible and adapt their thinking and formats to new patterns of demand and land use.More

Working to avoid allergen-related recalls
Supermarket News
Despite — or perhaps because of — awareness of allergen-related recalls, the issue remains a problem for the food industry, and some are looking for new solutions to help retailers. In the fourth quarter of 2013, undeclared allergens accounted for about 42 percent of the FDA's 134 recalls, the single largest cause for food recalls, according to an analysis by ExpertRECALL. More

Frito-Lay: Eyes are on snacks, so transparency and cooperation are critical
Governments and consumers want more transparency and regulatory bodies are closely eyeing snacks, so it is more crucial than ever to come together as an industry, warns Frito-Lay's chief marketing officer. The future of snacks is bright, but it needs to be underpinned by a cooperative landscape where manufacturers came together as a joint force. More

The greater good
Progressive Grocer
Businesses can't exist in a vacuum, least of all grocers, who position themselves as essential to their customers' everyday lives. So it's perfectly logical that food retailers would play a role in the world that extends beyond the checkstand and into the community and the environment. And because sustainability is a concept that's relevant to the existence of a business as well as the planet on which it operates, the nurturing of human capital is key.More

General Mills hopes comic books will invigorate cereal
General Mills has partnered with Warner Bros and DC Entertainment in hopes to influence purchase decisions in the cereal aisle with a limited edition Justice League comic book series across selected Big G brands. More

Senator Warner opposes cuts to military commissaries in Hampton Roads
Daily Press
Sen. Mark R. Warner wants to block proposed cuts to commissaries, a popular option for military families in Hampton Roads, because a high-level commission has yet to issue a report on the larger issue of compensation and benefits.More

The biggest threat to the Pentagon's budget is entitlement spending
Defense One
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel recently provided sobering insight into the Department of Defense's fiscal year 2015 budget request. Much of what the secretary shared caused a sharp reaction across the defense community and on Capitol Hill. More

ALA NY West Point Golf Outing this June!

The ALA NY Chapter is having its annual West Point Golf Outing on Monday, June 23. Proceeds from the event benefit the Military Commanders' Scholarship Fund.

We do not currently have an online registration process - any inquires can be directed to me at this email address:


Joe Mugnai

Retailers seek new distribution channels for same-day deliveries
National Real Estate
Same-day delivery of goods isn't dead, but experts say that delays experienced when major shippers UPS and FedEx got swamped during the recent holiday season have pushed retailers to seek alternate methods of achieving that holy grail of distribution networks. More

US retailers say business picked up later in February
Sales at many major U.S. retailers rose in February, as shoppers ventured out later in the month after a dismal start when ice, cold and snow kept many of them at home. The unusually cold, snowy weather that slammed retailers in January continued into the first half of February, including an ice storm that idled much of the Southeast for days.More

Retail employment down 6,700 in February
National Retail Federation
The National Retail Federation recently issued the following statements from NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay and Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz in response to the February jobs report. "While there are signs of modest momentum in the economy, now is not the time to play partisan politics with the recovery by forcing federal mandates on retailers and small business owners like an increase in the minimum wage," said Matthew Shay. "Such policy decisions could hamper economic growth and actually drive up the unemployment rate."More

Costco takes small steps to draw in younger shoppers
The Seattle Times
Costco Wholesale caters mostly to an older crowd — those with families and garages big enough to hold mammoth stacks of paper towels. But as it recently announced lower than expected quarterly earnings, the company said it's also taking incremental steps to draw in a younger demographic. More

How the least-loyal generation is shaping retail
Companies marketing to millennials have found doing business with this generation is no easy feat. New survey data from Pew Research Center may offer some insight into why: These consumers are markedly different than previous generations.More

Retailers hope you'll celebrate St. Patrick's Day
The National Retail Federation expects we'll spend almost five billion dollars to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. More

Digging out of one of the longest winters ever: The good, the bad, the ugly
Retail's BIG Blog
For meteorologists, scientists, weathermen like Jim Cantore and millions of others, this winter has been absolutely dreadful. When it comes to the impact weather has on businesses, most industries, including retail, manufacturing, construction and auto, recognize the ebb and flow of weather as a significant part of their plans. For retailers, weather forecasting models can impact everything from merchandising decisions to shipping and receiving, and even sales and staffing. More

Retail imports to rise in March as retailers stock up for spring
National Retail Federation
Import volume at the nation's major retail container ports is expected to increase 12.4 percent in March as retailers begin to stock up for the spring and the summer season, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released today by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates. More

Gap February sales fall
Chain Store Age
Gap Inc. had a disappointing February 2014 as net sales and same-store sales declined, compared to the same month in the prior year. Net sales fell 4 percent to $929 million from $966 million, while same-store sales dropped 7 percent.More

Report: Target post-holiday shopper penetration drops
Chain Store Age
Target's database breach in December 2013 not only affected the retailer's fourth quarter comparable store sales, but also contributed to plummeting shopper penetration post-holiday. Kantar Retail ShopperScape data indicates that just 33 percent of U.S. households reported shopping at Target or SuperTarget during January 2014, the lowest penetration number for Target in the past three years, and a 22 percent decrease in penetration compared to January 2013.More

Amazon debuts an official mobile app for Amazon sellers
Tech Crunch
Amazon quietly launched a new mobile application designed for Amazon Sellers, the individuals and businesses who leverage Amazon's scale to reach the company's millions of shoppers by listing their products on Amazon's site. Amazon Seller, as the app is simply called, offers a suite of mobile tools that allow sellers to search and scan barcodes of items, check prices, sales ranking and reviews, list items, as well as communicate with customers.More

PetSmart to open 70 stores
Chain Store Age
PetSmart plans to open some 70 net new stores, including approximately 50 of its standard prototypes, 20 micro stores and three PetsHotels, this year. News of the expansion comes in conjunction with the retailer's fourth quarter results.More


Among 5,000 recent trips to convenience stores by adults, 78 percent of trips were made to chain stores, 17 percent to non-chain stores and 5 percent were unsure of store type.More

Retail chains react to Web retail's growth
Internet Retailer
Consumers are spending less time shopping in stores and shifting more of their retail dollars to the Web. It's a trend that has steadily played out over the last few years, as store-based merchants continue to bring in a higher percentage of their sales from the Web. More

Wal-Mart extends lead over Target in Kantar Retail's price survey
Chain Store Age
Wal-Mart continues to extend its lead and again achieves its price leadership position over Target, in Kantar Retail's semi-annual pricing study. Target's overall grocery and consumables basket has been more expensive than Wal-Mart's since the study was performed in January 2011.More

Wal-Mart flexing hybrid stores to bridge digital gap
To fully understand Wal-Mart's stepped-up expansion of its smaller, hybrid stores, U.S. CEO Bill Simon says, think of the new strategy as "the digital thinking of physical retail." Simon says the retailer is using its Neighborhood Market and Walmart Express formats to create a new kind of "fully tethered retailer," offering consumers all the possibilities of e-commerce with the convenience of a physical store, including such innovations as grocery delivery, drive-through grocery pickup, and storage lockers.More

CIO priorities
CIOs can summarize both their priorities and their challenges in one word: agility. They're committed to supporting the business roadmap by means of agile IT decision-making, leveraging new technologies and reducing the time it takes to implement hardware and software upgrades. Still, obstacles remain, including the speed at which CIOs can implement IT changes and the need for increased capital resources.More

J.Crew could be a good fit for Uniqlo, but not at $5 billion
An acquisition of preppy J.Crew by Fast Retailing could fit snugly between its Uniqlo basics and more upmarket Theory brands, but the Japanese clothing firm is likely to balk at the $5 billion price tag J.Crew is said to be asking for.More

RadioShack to close up to 1,100 US stores
The New York Times
There will soon be about 1,100 fewer places to buy batteries. RadioShack recently said that it plans to close up to 1,100 stores, or about a fifth of its U.S. locations. The news came as the retailer reported a wider quarterly loss after a disappointing holiday season. Its stock tumbled 16 percent in afternoon trading.More

Monday won't stop millions from celebrating St. Patrick's Day this year
Retail's BIG Blog
Some might not feel so lucky that St. Patrick's Day falls on a Monday this year, but 55 percent of Americans won't let a case of the Mondays stand in their way. According to NRF's St. Patrick's Day consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics, 133 million people will celebrate the Irish holiday this year. Total spending on the day's festivities is expected to reach $4.8 billion, essentially flat with last year.More

Retailers hoping credit card changes will swipe away fraud
By Suzanne Mason
According to Verizon's 2013 Data Breach Investigation Report, 24 percent of data breaches happened in the retail industry. Although the percentage is relatively low, credit card giants Visa and MasterCard are pushing a major change in credit cards as we know it. Starting in October 2015, credit cards will make the switch from magnetic stripes to pin and chip technology also known as EMV. Instead of a machine reading a magnetic strip on a credit card, it will now read a tiny microchip within.More

Good McMorning: More Americans turning to fast food for breakfast
CBS News
For the fourth year running, fast food restaurants have seen business growing during the morning rush. Even as Americans cut back on dining out for lunch and dinner, new research found that restaurant visits for breakfast are on the rise. According to The NPD Group, a research company, there were more than 12.5 billion breakfast visits to U.S. restaurants in 2013, up three percent from the year before. Visits to "quick service" restaurants — fast food — were up even more, at four percent.More

Retailers can take a proactive approach to data recovery
Multichannel Merchant
Companies are starting to turn their attention to improving their customer experience by developing a centralized disaster recovery program to protect data. With all the crazy weather patterns occurring — from tornadoes and earthquakes to hurricanes and winter storms — such preparation to handle a potential disaster is a strategic and savvy business practice for retailers. More

The risks of social media for retailers
Retail Gazette
The appeal of social media is a mixed blessing; a great opportunity for retailers to reach out to their markets, define and strengthen brands and stay current. It's also an increasing source of employment issues, is pretty uncontrollable and a potential disaster zone for branding. Some social media disasters start with bad PR campaign ideas. These social media disasters really highlight the paradox of the information age. A greater ability and expectancy to be able to express oneself freely but within workforces and a wider society that is increasingly measured and monitored.More

Plans underway to honor volunteers
Fort Leonard Wood Guidon
April 6-13 is National Volunteer Week, a week about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. National Volunteer Week is about taking action, encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change. All registered Fort Leonard Wood volunteers are encouraged to stop by any Family, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facility or organization between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. in March to register for a chance to win prizes. Drawings will be conducted daily during volunteer week. More

Military's push to discourage tobacco use stumbles amid cheap cigarettes
Anderson Independent Mail
Soldiers, sailors or airmen looking for the cheapest smokes need go no further than the retail exchanges on their own bases. A pack of Marlboro Reds averaged $5.49 at military retail exchanges last year — 84 cents less on average than what the Wal-Mart stores nearest to the bases were charging, a new national study finds. More

Leaders' walk builds relationships
U.S. Army
The Army is like a fortified fighting position; it has to be continually improved to provide the best protection and support for the troops. Likewise, it is each Soldier's responsibility to improve his own fighting position. Many people would agree that this philosophy is what makes the Army the greatest fighting force in the world. The Army trains Soldiers at every level to become leaders and improve the Army at every chance. Therefore, the Army is continually building a stronger fighting force.More