ALA Executive Briefing
Mar. 27, 2015

Extra defense money faces huge Senate hurdle
Defense hawks scored a win by securing more cash for the Pentagon in the Senate budget — but that victory could prove short-lived. Republicans on the Budget Committee voted recently to boost the Pentagon's budget by $38 billion at the urging of hawks, like Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. The addition was essential for getting Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., to back the overall fiscal blueprint. More

How Congress is doing an end run around sequestration
The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)
What's the political penalty for the Republican-led Congress, aided by some Democrats, using a gimmick to circumvent the defense spending cuts they had legislated? Probably none, because the public either doesn't know or doesn't care.More

Defense hearings: Preparing for NDAA proposals
Military Times
As House and Senate leaders finalize their budget plans, the armed services committees in both chambers are finalizing their public hearings with military officials in preparation for April's debut of their respective draft defense authorization bills for fiscal 2016.More

Advocates spar over plans for retirement overhaul
Military Times
Outside advocates offered Congress conflicting views on a proposed military retirement overhaul, leaving lawmakers with an even more muddled picture on how to move ahead on the idea.More

Pentagon to push back against GOP budget
The Hill
The Pentagon will throw down the gauntlet against the GOP plan to leave federal budget caps in place next year but boost defense spending levels. More

Hawks push amendments to boost spending
Defense News
Three hawkish U.S. senators intend to force floor votes on amendments aimed at increasing Pentagon spending.More

Veterans' groups clash over proposed changes to military benefits
Veterans' advocacy groups are clashing with each other over proposed changes to military retirement, health care and other benefits. The Military Coalition, an umbrella group of almost three dozen military, veterans and uniformed services organizations, couldn't reach an accord on the recommendations of the congressionally mandated Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission. Even as TMC members debate the recommendations with lawmakers, they plan to push back against parts of the Pentagon's proposed fiscal 2016 budget. "Congress has to deal with the budget this year," said Michael Hayden TMC co-chair and director of government relations for the Military Officers Association of America. "They don't have to deal with the MCRMC recommendations."More

Rubio, Cotton want to boost defense spending
The Hill
Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., are pushing for an increase in defense spending. The pair used projections for fiscal 2016 included in a 2012 defense budget proposal by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates. "I believe defense spending is the most important obligation of the federal government," the Florida Republican said. "This is the worst possible time to be reducing our defense spending ... and we are setting ourselves up for danger," Rubio said. More

Bill would let Pentagon blunt impact of sequestration
The Hill
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., put forward a bill that would give the Defense Department the authority to move around up to $50 billion within its accounts to lessen the effects of sequestration. The measure — known as the Military Sequester Flexibility Act — comes the same day House Budget Committee backed a plan to keep in place the $523 billion spending cap for defense spending imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.More

Budget battle could have substantial impact on national security and benefits
Fleet Reserve Association
One of the battles over the FY 2016 budget resolution is whether to include drastic cuts to the Defense budget mandated by the Budget Control Act (BCA), better known as sequestration, or to provide more robust defense spending beyond these limits. The spending limits are being considered as part of the budget resolution for FY 2016. The budget resolution serves as a blueprint for spending in the next fiscal year and should exclude the Defense budget from sequestration cuts. These budget cuts mandate that half of all sequestration cuts come from Defense even though the Defense budget only makes up only 17 percent of the budget. Members are urged to use the Action Center to ask their legislators to exclude the Defense budget from these across-the-board "mindless" sequestration budget cuts.More

Community turns out to prevent cuts at Hood
Fort Hood Sentinel
Fort Hood, Texas, state and local community leaders presented their case to Army officials to keep Fort Hood at its current levels during an Army-hosted Force Structure and Stationing Listening Session Wednesday evening in Killeen, Texas. More than 700 community members attended the session which was held to provide officials from the Army's Force Management Office with input about why the massive Central Texas post should not be down-sized. The session in Killeen was one of 30 Army-directed meetings held at or near installations potentially facing personnel reductions as the threat of continued sequestration and $95 billion in budget cuts looms.More

Veteran hiring by federal government hits record high
Federal Times
Nearly one-third of the federal government's new hires in fiscal 2014 were veterans — a record high, according to the administration. About 33.2 percent of new agency hires were veterans — up from 31 percent in fiscal 2013 and the highest in the more than five years since the establishment of the Veterans Employment Initiative, according to the administration.More

Architectural Refrigeration Upgrade Commissary, Facility at Fort Jackson, SC
The Defense Commissary Agency, Contracting Directorate Construction Design Branch (HQ DeCA/LEAAF), anticipates awarding a firm fixed price construction contract to Architectural/Refrigeration Upgrade to an existing 71,731 square foot commissary at Fort Jackson, SC.More

In-store Specialty Delicatessen and Bakery Resale Operations for 44 commissary locations in DeCA East and West Area
Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Resale Contracting Division (MPR) (HDEC02). More

Electric Handicap Shopping Carts
This solicitation is being issued as 100 percent total small business set-aside. The solicitation is for electric handicap shopping carts to be delivered to Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the Continental United States and overseas locations including Europe.More

Fresh Fruits & Vegetables (FF&V) And Live Potted Plants
Solicitation Number: HDEC02-12-R-0008. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Resale Contracting Division (MPR) (HDEC02). More

Maintenance and Repair of Food Processing Equipment in Commissary Stores: Hanscom AFB, MA; Portsmouth NSY, NH; Bangor ANGB, ME
Solicitation Number: HDEC04-15-R-0031. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Business Unit/Equip, & Maint Div (HDEC04). More

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

Architectural and Refrigeration Upgrade, Fort Myer, Virginia
The Defense Commissary Agency, Acquisition Management Directorate Construction Design Branch (HQ DeCA/LEAAF), anticipates awarding a firm fixed price construction contract for the renovation of a 71,022 square-foot commissary at Fort Myer, Virginia. More

Preventative Maintenance & Repair of Material Handling Equipment
Solicitation Number: HDEC04-15-R-0004. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Business Unit/Equip, & Maint Div (HDEC04).More

Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Buchanan Commissary, located in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Furnish all supervision, personnel, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform custodial operations.More

Defense Commissary Agency seeks new contractor for deli, bakery services
EPR Retail News
Deli and bakery services in 22 commissaries in 12 states face temporary suspension today as the Defense Commissary Agency seeks a new contractor. Six of the 22 commissaries have sushi bars that will also be temporarily suspended.More

Inside General Mills' new approach to innovation
Food Business News
For big growth, General Mills is thinking small. The maker of Cheerios and Yoplait has overhauled its approach to product development based on what management has learned from observing the industry's smaller players.More

Kraft and Heinz to merge in deal backed by Buffett and 3G Capital
The New York Times (tiered subscription model)
First it was Budweiser beer. Then came Burger King Whoppers. Next up was Heinz ketchup. Now 3G Capital, a Brazilian private investment group that already owns a suite of America's most prominent food and beverage brands, has struck a deal to take control of Kraft Foods, the maker of macaroni and cheese, Oscar Mayer meats, Planters nuts and Jell-O.More

NCR Software modernizes retail, supply chain operations for Defense Commissary Agency
Innovative, end-to-end software solutions, including cloud-based NCR Connected Payments, bring industry best practices to supply chain model, while modernizing store systems and improving customer interaction —

Tyson Foods leveraging Hillshire innovation
Food Business News
With the integration of Hillshire Brands well underway, the focus at Tyson Foods has turned to execution. Company executives are working to maintain the innovation momentum Hillshire had attained prior to the acquisition in 2014.More

Northrop Grumman awarded space surveillance and tracking system contract, DoD daily contracts
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems was awarded a $21.8 million contract modification for the Space Tracking and Surveillance System.More

What is Coke CEO's solution for lost fizz? More soda
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
On a visit to a Coca-Cola Co. bottler in Pensacola, Florida, in January, Chief Executive Muhtar Kent pulled a small red paint chip from his wallet and held it up to a new delivery truck. The truck might have looked Coke red to the untrained eye, but it was ever so slightly off in hue.More

AAFES engages with suppliers in new initiative
Retailing Today
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service recently conducted a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to simplify the process of selling to the major retailer.More

Army & Air Force Exchange Service and Unilever to give away $15,000
Public Affairs
As March Madness heats up, Army & Air Force Exchange Service shoppers have a chance to win big with the Unilever Sweepstakes. Now through April 9, the Exchange is offering shoppers worldwide the opportunity to win one of six $2,500 Exchange gift cards.More

Amazon expands one-hour delivery service to Baltimore and Miami
The Verge
Amazon's one-hour delivery service is coming to Baltimore and Miami. Prime Now lets Amazon Prime subscribers order from a limited range of products and select either free two-hour delivery, or one-hour delivery for $7.99. More

Kantar Retail: Wal-Mart leads Target in one-stop basket price study
Chain Store Age
Wal-Mart narrowly leads the one-stop basket assessment versus Target, according to the latest Kantar Retail basket pricing study, which examines a basket of grocery, HBA, and general merchandise items. More

Consumer interest in high-end watches up 10 percent
As the world's luxury watch and jewelry buyers flock to Switzerland for the annual blingfest known as Baselworld, it looks like they can all set their watches to happier times. Not only did sales of Swiss watches gain 1.9 percent in 2014, they're already up 3.7 percent this year. More

Target agrees to pay $10 million to settle lawsuit from data breach
Target Corp. has agreed to pay $10 million in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit related to a huge 2013 data breach that consumers say compromised their personal financial information, court documents show.More

Macy's CFO: Evolving to meet consumer needs
The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model)
Macy's Finance Chief Karen Hoguet spoke with CFO Journal about staying relevant in an ever-changing retail market.More

Brands embrace denim to round out consumers' closets
Luxury Daily
As consumers become increasingly comfortable investing in denim, luxury brands are looking to win their business with upscale jeans.More

Everything matters: Creating a culture of safety
NRF Protect
When an employee is injured, retail organizations incur expenses — for medical costs, and for indirect costs from conducting investigations, managing claims and delayed productions. Creating a culture of employee safety is a sound business decision for many reasons.More

J. Crew's Mickey Drexler offers Mea Culpa on 'lousy year' in women's clothing
Bloomberg Business
CEO Mickey Drexler provided a candid assessment of what he described as a "lousy year" for J. Crew's women's business in a rare appearance on a conference call with analysts, after overall sales at the brand remained stagnant at around $621 million.More

Target raises minimum wage to $9 an hour
Target Corp. is raising the minimum wage for its hourly workers in April to at least $9 an hour as it has faced mounting pressure following a similar decision by rival Wal-Mart.More

How students can discover dream careers with retail internships
College is the perfect time to explore different fields, and internships are a great way for students to learn more about industries that may have piqued their curiosity. Here are a few reasons why college students might want to explore retail careers — from technology or design to finance or marketing — through internship opportunities.More

Survey: RFID embraced for inventory tracking
Chain Store Age
Apparel and general merchandise manufacturers and retailers are using item-level, electronic product code-enabled radio frequency identification to enhance inventory visibility and respond to consumer demands for omnichannel options.More

Take your C-store to the next level
CSP's exclusive study from research leader, Technomic, features key insights into consumer preferences, habits and intentions regarding convenience retail visits and purchases. Learn more about how to promote continuous growth and success in this highly competitive and constantly evolving market. To access the free executive summary, click here.More

Get it right: Pricing strategies that work
American Express OPEN Forum
If you're not exactly sure which pricing strategy will work for your business, these 6 steps can help you successfully set your company's prices.More

Sheetz mulling more urban sites
Sheetz Inc., known for its large gas stations and convenience stores with fresh, made-to-order foodservice, has just opened its 500th and is planning its expansion into urban markets with a new store model.More

Impulse under siege?
STORES Magazine via NRF
Curbside grocery pickup, self-checkout aisles and technologies that reduce dwell time are a boon for supermarket retailers and shoppers, but they're proving to be a serious buzz kill for sales of sweets, snacks and magazines.More

The Pantry announces layoffs
On the same day convenience-store chain The Pantry Inc. closed on its buyout by Circle K parent Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., the Cary, North Carolina-based company laid off 250 employees, according to a mandatory filing with the North Carolina Department of Commerce obtained by CSP Daily News.More

Best Oil closes sales of C-store, fuel businesses
Best Oil Co. has closed the previously announced sale of its 19 Little Stores gas stations and convenience stores in northwestern Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, to TravelCenters of America LLC, Matrix Capital Markets Group Inc., which provided merger and acquisition advisory services to Best Oil, said.More

7-Eleven capitalizing on Washington, D.C.'s desire for convenience
7-Eleven Inc. is moving aggressively into the Washington, D.C., area, adding more than a store a month, sometimes within blocks of existing ones, reported The Washington Post.More

Virginia: Golf Club opens its doors to all, discounts fees
Belvoir Eagle
Fort Belvoir Golf Club and Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation officials recently made a major announcement about membership eligibility and pricing that is sure to interest golfers throughout the Northern Virginia region.More

Virginia: 1st virtual town hall connects leaders with community members
Fort Lee Traveller
The installation has plans to open its first dog park sometime in the very near future. That tidbit of information was among eye-opening responses to questions and the many announcements made during the installation's first virtual town hall meeting broadcast March 11.More

Washington: Joint Base Lewis-McChord looks at the future of Army family programs
Association of the United States Army
Difficult decisions lie ahead regarding Army Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs, said Col. Charles Hodges Jr., installation commander at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, during an onsite family forum hosted by the AUSA Family Readiness Directorate. "I am here to talk about what was the Army Family Covenant and now what Army Strong is going to become ... I wish I could say definitely here are the answers to all the questions you’re going to have, but we just don’t know," Hodges said. More