ALA Executive Briefing
Mar. 22, 2013

Stopgap budget retains furloughs
The Washington Post via PressDisplay
The stopgap budget that Congress is likely to pass this week to fund the government through the rest of the fiscal year gives a few agencies flexibility to address spending priorities. More

Spouse tuition program untouched by cuts — so far
Army Times via Early Bird
Even as the services move to halt or reduce funding for tuition assistance for active-duty troops, no changes have been mentioned in a separate tuition program for military spouses.More

Pentagon has spent billions on doomed programs — cash looms large with budget cuts
The Washington Times
The Pentagon has squandered billions of dollars over the past two decades on weapon systems it never produced and on rosy cost estimates that ballooned to sizes that ate up funds for other projects, according to government reports and defense analysts.More

Budget cutting spurs Hagel to order Pentagon review of year-old strategy
The Washington Post via Current Mil-Tech News
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the Pentagon to reconsider a sweeping military strategy that the Obama administration unveiled just last year to determine whether it is still affordable in light of recent budget cuts.More

Commissary asks for patience during staff shortage
Fort Gordon Signal
The head of Fort Gordon's commissary says a little planning and a little patience will help customers weather the staff shortages now creating longer waits for shoppers. John Siddell, Fort Gordon commissary director, says a hiring freeze has left his store with 11 fewer cashiers than needed, creating longer lines to check out at the store.More

Single rack, roll in, stainless steel, bakery
Federal Business Opportunities
This solicitation is being issued as 100 percent total small business set-aside. The solicitation is for single rack, roll-in, stainless steel to be delivered to Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the Continental United States and overseas locations. However, for overseas locations, the contractor would only be responsible for preparation for overseas shipment and delivery to the port. The Request for Quote will be posted on FedBizOpps at on or about March 25. Those offering may obtain a copy of the solicitation at this site.More

Fats and bones removal service
Federal Business Opportunities
Fats and Bones Removal Service at Barksdale AFB & Fort Polk commissaries in Louisiana. The Period of Performance will be for a base period of July 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014, and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through June 30, 2018. This Request for Quote will be issued on or about March 26 with a tentative closing date of April 10. This RFQ will be available on under ODA (Other Defense Agencies). This acquisition is being issued on a 100 percent Small Business Set-Aside. More

Dear SAM user,

The General Services Administration recently has identified a security vulnerability in the System for Award Management, which is part of the cross-government Integrated Award Environment managed by GSA. Registered SAM users with entity administrator rights and delegated entity registration rights had the ability to view any entity's registration information, including both public and non-public data at all sensitivity levels.

The System for Award Management security breach puts hundreds of thousands of government registered businesses at risk of identity theft. SAM being the mega database of information contains confidential business information such as sole proprietors social security numbers, banking information, names and addresses. Each registered contractor was recently notified by the General Services Administration they identified a security vulnerability in the SAM system that may put a suppliers confidential information at risk. Industry members are strongly encouraged to visit for the latest information. GSA has indicated some components of are temporarily unavailable and users will not be able to register a new entity or update an entity record until Entity Management is available at 9 a.m. on Monday, March 25.

Note: Immediately after the vulnerability was identified, GSA implemented a software patch to close this exposure. As a precaution, GSA is taking proactive steps to protect and inform SAM users.

The data contained identifying information including names, taxpayer identification numbers, marketing partner information numbers and bank account information. As a result, information identifiable with your entity registered in SAM was potentially viewable to others.

Registrants using their social security numbers instead of a TIN for purposes of doing business with the federal government may be at greater risk for potential identity theft. These registrants will receive a separate email communication regarding credit monitoring resources available to them at no charge.More

Grocers vow not to sell genetically engineered seafood
Progressive Grocers
A coalition of consumer, health, food safety and fishing groups has kicked off its Campaign for Genetically Engineered-Free Seafood by revealing that several major grocery players representing more than 2,000 stores across the United States have already pledged not to sell genetically engineered seafood if it's allowed onto the market. The action comes as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration conducts its final review of a genetically engineered salmon. If approved, the salmon would be the first-ever genetically engineered animal permitted to enter the human food supply.More

Kroger ramps up digital efforts
Supermarket News
Kroger Co. here said it recently began ramping up efforts to promote its digital offerings to consumers. "We know that customers who are digitally engaged with Kroger are more loyal than those customers who aren't, which is why we recently began promoting our digital offering to connect with more customers on our digital platforms," said Rodney McMullen, president and chief operating officer, in a conference call discussing Kroger's year-end results.More

The rise of the 'mansumer'
The "mansumer," the adult male in a household who's become the family's primary shopper, is taking a larger role in the U.S. marketplace, according to a December report from BPN, a global media and marketing firm that apparently coined the term. The continuing weak U.S. economy since 2008 has played a significant role in the rise of the mansumer, according to the BPN report.More

Consumers increase focus on sourcing, sustainability
Progressive Grocer
Conscious shoppers are increasing their spend on organics, sourcing food products, seeking out non-GMO and buying sustainable "Farm to Table" food products traceable to local/regional farmers and producers, according to a study conducted by Market LOHAS and laz pr. The 2013 MamboTrack Annual Natural and Organic Product Survey reveals that "Farm to Table" buying mirrors local food trends with conscious shoppers tracing their food products to regional growers and producers.More

Starbucks moves rewards program into grocery stores
The Seattle Times
Starbucks plans to extend its rewards points program to grocery store purchases of Starbucks packaged coffee beginning in May. It will add other items, such as Tazo tea and K-cup products, in the fall. Starbucks’ rewards program, which allows customers to prepay for purchases, offers free drinks and food based on past purchases. The program, which began in late 2009 for purchases in Starbucks shops, has 6 million members and is expected to reach 9 million by fall.More

FTC: Your mobile and social media ads still need disclosures
We've all seen online banner ads with lengthy disclosures and other warnings where what we see isn't necessarily what we'll get. The FTC just updated its guidelines to make clear that any "constrained" ads on mobile platforms or social networks still have to reveal their true purposes and show realistic figures.More

The Sequester: Absolutely everything you could possibly need to know, in one FAQ
The Washington Post
Soon the dreaded sequester is set to take effect. Hands up if you know what exactly that means — and be honest. Don't worry, we're here to set you straight. Follow along for answers to some of the most-asked questions about the impending cuts.More

Tuna recall expands to more than 3 million cans
USA Today
A recall of Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea tuna has expanded and includes more than 3 million 5-ounce cans that the companies say were improperly sealed at a California plant. No illnesses have been reported and the manufacturing problem that caused the mistake has been fixed, the companies say.More

Military shopping gets some private-sector upgrades
The Dallas Morning News
The first civilian to run the military's $10 billion-a-year retail business has his work cut out for him. The CEO of the Dallas-based Army & Air Force Exchange Service, Tom Shull, is the first retailer to hold the post, which had been a two-year officer assignment for 117 years. Shull, 61, joined AAFES in June under a 2011 Defense Department "efficiency initiatives" program, and his tenure doesn't have a time limit. After his hiring was written up in Military Times, many of the reader comments were critical, touching on everything from AAFES' size availability to prices. "We've got to better understand the dynamics of our competitors and provide better value," said Shull. More

Soldiers tripping on Red Bull
The Boston Globe
While energy drinks like Monster and Red Bull are not inherently dangerous, their popularity has resulted in the doubling of hospital visits related to excessive intake. Now come reports that these caffeine-fueled drinks are the top-selling beverage — of any kind — in all Army and Air Force general stores worldwide. That has many in the military and medical profession concerned, and for good reason. More

Big data broadens its range
The Wall Street Journal
The use of advanced databases was pioneered by Web companies such as Google Inc., Inc. and Facebook Inc. Now a broader range of industrial and retail companies are picking up on the idea, and it is beginning to change the way some of them are doing business.More

Tips on going global with your supply chain
MultiChannel Merchant
If you are an e-commerce company who buys from suppliers internationally, you are more than likely facing pressures from the competition to delivery faster and cheaper. But if there is the slightest problem in the shipment, it can lead to major problems within your business. More

Michelle Obama praises Wal-Mart's veterans pledge
Women's Wear Daily
First lady Michelle Obama, more accustomed to championing Seventh Avenue designers than discount retailers, has turned her praise on retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Obama, who recently addressed a meeting of executives at the Business Roundtable, held up Wal-Mart Stores as a model for other businesses to follow because it has pledged to hire military veterans. Wal-Mart has said it will hire any veteran seeking employment that has been honorably discharged in the past 12 months and expects to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years.More

Target to buy Colorado Springs-based Chefs Catalog
Colorado Springs Gazette
Chefs Catalog, a Colorado Springs-based company that sells upscale cooking equipment through its website, catalog and local retail store, is being purchased by Target. Chefs will continue to be based in the Springs as part of the deal and operate under its existing name, said Eric Hausman, a spokesman for the Minneapolis-based discount department store chain.More

Retailers talk tactics at Bank of America conference
Women's Wera Daily via Fashion Snoops Blog
Top fashion executives recently helped wrap up the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2013 Consumer and Retail Conference by acknowledging past missteps, pointing to growth opportunities and dissecting the consumer's omni-impulses. The following is a look at what executives said on day two of the conference.More

'Large retailer' living-wage bill is moving forward
The Washington Post
A D.C. Council bill that would require the city's largest retailers — including Wal-Mart, Costco, Home Depot and others — to pay higher wages is showing signs of life. The "Large Retailer Accountability Act," introduced by Chairman Phil Mendelson in January, will soon get a hearing before the council's Business, Consumer and Regulatory Affairs committee.More

A cash register tape nightmare — and it could be coming true
Retail's BIG Blog
It's the kind of nightmare retailers lose sleep over: Customers are lined up out the door, their arms and carts bulging with merchandise and their wallets wide open. But there's no tape in the cash register, none in the credit card machine and no fresh rolls to be found anywhere. With no paper to print receipts or let customers sign credit card slips, the shoppers walk away and all the day's sales are lost. And it happens again and again, like the movie Groundhog Day. Unfortunately, that nightmare could soon come true for retailers across the country if officials at the Commerce Department allow a trade case against a German company to go through.More

Gas prices top of mind for seven in 10 Americans
Retail's BIG Blog
Avid bikers, frequent fliers and public transportation commuters may not apply, but high costs of gas around the country are causing some people to think twice about their discretionary spending decisions, including when and if they will make a major purchase, take that extra trip to the grocery store, or even head out of town for the weekend. And, though Americans are not unfamiliar with high gas prices, what makes the current situation (the national average cost of gas is hovering around $3.70 a gallon) sting a little more these days is that many people are already working with smaller budgets due to increases in the payroll tax.More

Target to open 3 more clinics in Chicago area stores
Chicago Tribune
Target Corp. said it plans to open three new clinics in Chicago area stores. The clinics, which provide walk-in medical care for minor illnesses and injuries, will be in the stores in Willlowbrook, South Elgin and on Peterson Avenue in Chicago. Construction will begin May 28 with grand openings scheduled for Aug. 18. More

Top Geek Squad executive to leave Best Buy
Star Tribune
The executive in charge of Geek Squad is leaving Best Buy Co. Inc. as the company shifts most of its attention to fixing store operations, reducing costs and revamping George Sherman, senior vice president of services, will depart the consumer electronics retailer after nearly four years in the position, the company confirmed.More

Children to marketers: We want tech gadgets, not toys
Two-thirds of children between the ages of 7 and 13 would prefer to have a tech gadget rather than a toy to play with, according to Allison Arling-Giorgi, senior director of strategic innovation at The Intelligence Group, who presented her firm's research findings about the young consumer segment at the 4As. Children in that age group — some 46 million strong — make up the bulk of the consumer segment that researchers have labeled "Generation Z," according to new research recently revealed at the 4As Conference.More

February retail sales up 1.1 percent, exceeding expectations
Chain Store Age
Retail spending in the United States rose a better-than-expected 1.1 percent in February, the highest increase since September, according to figures recently released by the U.S. Department of Commerce. Sales, excluding gasoline, building materials and autos, rose 0.4 percent. Industry experts said the rise indicates that consumer spending is holding up even in the face of the higher payroll tax.More

Loyal customers help Costco win market share
Reuters via CNBC
Retailer Costco Wholesale recently reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by a rise in membership fees and market share gains. Shares of the largest U.S. warehouse club operator rose 1.5 percent to $103.90 in pre-market trading. More

J.C. Penney chief is trying to stitch together a turnaround
Los Angeles Times
J.C. Penney is employing a number of tactics — the Joe Fresh partnership among them — to recapture fleeing customers and assuage growing investor skepticism about a stock that has fallen 60 percent in the last year, closing Monday at $15.05, down 6 cents. It's what Johnson has called the "repositioning," the "reinvention" or the "transformation" — a push to turn the 1,100-store company into a "specialty department store" that will "give a reason for a lot of customers who haven't been to JCP lately to come check it out."More

Sales at US retailers advance by most in 5 months
Sales at U.S. retailers climbed twice as much as forecast in February, showing improving job prospects are helping consumers and the economy overcome higher taxes and gasoline prices.More

Which is better for retail sales, online or offline customer engagement?
Now that online sales are growing at approximately 10 times the rate of brick and mortar, it comes as no surprise when savvy retailers like Macy's start beefing up their e-commerce capabilities. However, online retailers may be moving in exactly the opposite direction: They're planning to open offline brick-and-mortar stores. What's going on?More

'Oz' merchandising tie-in treasures
Los Angeles Times
If Disney's "Oz the Great and Powerful" continues to be a tornado at the ticket counter (opening weekend saw $80.3 million in domestic ticket sales, making it the most successful 2013 release to date), the inhabitants of the Emerald City aren't the only ones who stand to see some serious green. Long before the movie touched down at the multiplex, Disney Consumer Products was in full flying monkey mode, making sure there were merchandising tie-ins that would appeal to every level of fan, from books and dolls for those with Munchkin-sized wallets to high-fashion runway gowns and designer handbags.More

NRF: Easter Bunny keeps frugality in mind this year
National Retail Federation
Americans will celebrate Easter in style and on budget this year according to NRF's Easter Spending Survey conducted by BIGinsight. Keeping cost and their shopping list in mind, the average person celebrating Easter will spend approximately $145.13 on candy, decor, apparel and food, flat with last year's $145.28. Total spending will reach an estimated $17.2 billion.More

13 ways to painlessly improve profitability in 2013: Schedule your energy
By Jay Fiske
Would you schedule clerks to work when your store isn't open? Or schedule more people than you need in off hours? Would you want to pay them starting at 7:30 a.m. even though their shift doesn't start until 11:30 a.m.? Of course not. Well, you may be doing exactly that with your energy. Developing and implementing a startup/shutdown schedule can reap significant rewards that won't cost you a dime. It's all about education. As the old adage says, "When people know better, they do better." It's about re-examining how and when energy is used.More

What will drive the next e-commerce growth wave?
Retail Wire
Forrester expects that e-commerce in the U.S. will see another string of double-digit gains over the next five years, albeit barely at a 10 percent compound annual growth rate. The underlying drivers, however, will be somewhat different than online's earlier days.More

Exciting ways to market your business in 2013
Business 2 Community
The explosion of digital and social media has opened up exciting new avenues for marketers and advertisers. Never before have there been so many ways a business can get their message out to their target market. Some are new tactics while others are new takes on older methods. Here are some of the exciting new marketing strategies for 2013.More

Lowe's boosts online sales more than 50 percent in 2012
Internet Retailer
It was a strong year for Lowe's Co. Inc.'s online channel, as the merchant boosted e-commerce sales more than 50 percent in 2012, CEO Robert Niblock recently told analysts at the UBS Global Conference. Lowe's, No. 47 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, did not say exactly what its online sales were in its most recent earnings release. But Internet Retailer estimates the web accounted for around 1.5 percent of the home improvement retailer's total sales in 2012, or $757.5 million.More

Gift cards give back to retailers
Convenience Store News
The future of gift cards is in the mobile space, with retailers tying them into loyalty programs. These cards continue to offer an opportunity to the convenience store operator — not only to build their brand, but also to create loyalty among customers. More

The economic case for paying your cashiers $40,000 a year
The Atlantic Cities
Many employers believe that one of the best ways to raise their profit margin is to cut labor costs. But companies like QuikTrip, the grocery store chain Trader Joe's, and Costco Wholesale are proving that the decision to offer low wages is a choice, not an economic necessity. All three are low-cost retailers, a sector that is traditionally known for relying on part-time, low-paid employees. Yet these companies have all found that the act of valuing workers can pay off in the form of increased sales and productivity. More

CGX personnel changes

We would like to update you on some moves in our division that took effect Monday, March 18. Charlene Chivas, is moving from Assistant Buyer in Uniforms to Assistant Buyer in Ladies Apparel, Cosmetics, Handbags/Acc & Jewelry and her number will be 757-842-4746. Wintress Page is moving from Assistant Buyer in Ladies Apparel, Cosmetics, Handbags/Acc & Jewelry to Assistant Buyer in Uniforms and her number will be 757-842-4751. Additionally, Michell Houpe will now we working as Pricing Specialist for both Marianne Drainer (Home & Uniforms) and Lynda Yankowsky (Mens', Childrens' & Shoes) and her number remains 757-842-4761.

We also very pleased to have three unpaid interns from ODU working with us until May 2013. Brittany Ellis and Angelica Cordero are working part time to cover the Pricing Specialist position in Wine that is temporarily vacant and Helena Jackson is working with Terri Holman in CG Logo and Giftware.

Please join me in congratulating these team members in their new positions!

Sarah Malbon Mikus
Director of Merchandise
USCG Community Services Command
Coast Guard Exchange System
510 Independence Parkway, Suite 500
Chesapeake, VA 23320

Korea: 2ID commander cracks down after recent rash of misconduct

VMI partners,

Please refer to Star and Stripes article below on the most recent directive from 2nd Infantry Division Command in Korea regarding alcohol consumption. We expect warehouse depletion rates to drop and need you to closely monitor inventory levels closely until we gather more information on the suspension of alcohol privileges. No directive from command has been given (yet) to stop selling product. This affects northern facilities but not the southern facilities in Korea. Attached are Korea facility sales for fiscal week 16-Mar-2013, will be pulling sales each Monday to help forecast the impact. Contact me if you have any questions.

Exchange locations impacted by directive include the following:

Camp Casey
Camp Hovey
Camp Stanley
Youngsan Garrison
Camp Humphrey's

Click here to read article.

Art Castillo
Merchandise & Inventory Planner
Sales Directorate - Planning, Allocation & ReplenishmentMore

Sequester furloughs: What it means to the IMCOM workforce
U.S. Army
Army civilian personnel are bracing for the impact of furloughs and changing financial priorities on their organizations. Approximately 251,000 Department of the Army civilians expect to be notified soon if they will be furloughed up to 22 days starting in April. In order to meet national security responsibilities, IMCOM is prioritizing readiness and programs based on the Army strategy, while adjusting to the fiscal resources available. More

Exchange fills important role in community
Mongolian Economy and Finance
The Exchange at Fort Benning doesn't just provide its customers with convenient on-post shopping options; it also gives back to the community in other ways, Exchange officials said. Roughly two-thirds of Exchange earnings are paid to the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, with the other third used to renovate Exchange facilities or build new facilities, such as the new facilities at Patton Village and Harmony Church.More

Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam to implement changes to services
Hookele Navigator
In the face of the continuing resolution and sequestration, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will begin implementing changes to some services and programs beginning March 18. The changes will affect some operations, facilities and quality-of-life services.More

Military gears up for cuts
Military installations, such as the Dahlgren Navy base and Fort A.P. Hill, are no longer wondering about how they'll be affected by sequestration. Reductions in the wake of the automatic, across-the-board federal spending cuts imposed March 1, are already grabbing hold, adding to expected furloughs of civilian workers beginning next month. More

Navy testing new fire-resistant clothing
Armed with Science
The Office of Naval Research is answering a sailor's request for delivery of new flight deck clothing that could significantly boost personnel safety on aircraft carriers across the Navy. Sponsored by both ONR's TechSolutions rapid-response program and Naval Air Systems Command, new flame-resistant jerseys and trousers could be worn by Navy flight deck crews across the fleet as early as 2014. The evaluation of the prototypes began in December on USS Stennis (CVN 74); prototypes will also be tested on USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) and a third carrier yet to be selectedMore

Cuts cancel soldier show stop here
Bryan County News
The effects of sequestration are starting to be felt at Fort Stewart with the cancellation of an event planned by the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. According to special events coordinator Chris Dent, the U.S. Army Soldier Show's stop at Fort Stewart has been canceled. "This is the only event that has been canceled to date," said Dent. "I can only say it has to do with our new fiscal reality."More