ALA Executive Briefing
April 2, 2010

Defense chief urges Hill action on supplemental by early spring
Government Executive
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that he wants Congress to approve by early spring $33 billion in supplemental spending to cover military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the fiscal year. More

Ex-TSA pick Harding's firm got Army deal after he cited sleep apnea disability
The Washington Post
The firm owned by the decorated general who withdrew his nomination to lead the Transportation Security Administration had received a consulting contract worth almost $100 million from the Army after certifying he was a "service disabled veteran," according to documents and interviews with government officials. More

North Korea on the edge
The Wall Street Journal
Kim Jong Il may be increasingly wizened and frail, with fingernails white from kidney disease, but his propaganda apparatus is as vigorous as ever. On a current wall poster a worker gestures toward the slogan, "A strong and prosperous nation is coming into view!" In the background, fireworks explode over brightly-lit buildings, a pile of rice and potatoes, three-spanking new missiles, and a bulldozer.More

Another T.S.A. nominee withdraws
The New York Times
President Obama's choice to lead the agency that guards United States airports abruptly withdrew his nomination amid questions about his work as a defense contractor, the second time the White House has lost a nominee for the critical security post.More

U.S. told to move base off Okinawa
The Wall Street Journal
Japan told the U.S. that relocating a controversial U.S. military facility in Okinawa was impossible, setting a stage for more thorny discussions that could further erode the popularity of the six-month-old government of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama.More

Camp Pendleton to open barracks for wounded
The San Diego Union Tribune
Marine Corps officials will celebrate the opening of a $25 million barracks for wounded troops, cutting the ribbon on the first phase of a $54 million expansion of the Wounded Warrior Battalion West campus.More

Marines lift social media ban
Stars and Stripes
The Marine Corps lifted its ban on social media sites allowing Marines from Japan to the States to sign on to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter and other sites.More

America's favorite brands: With SKU reductions underway, which will survive?
NRF Stores
Americans have an ongoing love affair with brands. Threaten to take away their Dawn dishwashing detergent or their Kleenex and you'd better be ready for a knock-down, drag-out fight: Those items, along with Bounty paper towels and Crest toothpaste, are among the products shoppers choose most often when they roll their carts up and down the supermarket aisles. While there are undeniable brand favorites in some categories, it's not as straightforward to pick a winner in others.More

Spartan stores launches new price programme
Spartan Stores has announced the launch of a new pricing policy at its stores in the state of Michigan, highlighting the continued demand for low-priced food in the U.S.More

Valassis defines 'new normal' shopping behavior
Market Watch
Valassis, one of the nation's leading media and marketing services companies, announced greater insight into consumer savings habits with coupons - what they are buying, where they are shopping and how the economy is defining a new "normal" when it comes to shopping behavior.More

Beverage category declines for second straight year
Fortified waters and sports drinks saw steep volume declines last year, while the carbonated soft-drink category saw some rebound amid declines as consumers continue to shun packaged beverages. Overall, the beverage category declined 3.1 percentage in volume in 2009. A year ago, the beverage category saw volume drop by 2.1 percentage, the first decline on record. More

Nestlé takes a beating on social-media sites
The Wall Street Journal
For nearly two weeks, environmental activists have been using social media to wage war against Nestlé over its purchases of palm oil for use in KitKat candy bars and other products, catching the Swiss food giant off guard.More

Red Bull gives you ... a new 19-ounce can
In a category driven by demand for varying sizes of energy boosts, Red Bull is adding to its energy-drink line with a new 19.2-ounce Red Bull Racing Team special edition can launching in April.More

Trader Joe's adopts sustainable seafood standards
The Washington Post
Trader Joe's has announced that it will sell only sustainably sourced seafood by the end of 2012. In announcement posted on its Web site, the grocery chain would remove species condemned by environmental groups from its shelves, establish a transparent sourcing policy and leverage its buying power to change the seafood industry. The phase-out applies to all fresh, frozen and canned seafood. More

Restaurant chains roll out small bites at small prices
USA Today
Some of the nation's most familiar casual-dining chains are suddenly thinking smaller. They're rolling out tapas-like small plates of shareable items that typically are cheaper than appetizers by a buck or two — or even three.More

Shoppers emerging with Best Buy sales signal revival
Companies from Saks Inc. to Best Buy Co. are growing more confident that the recent revival of consumer spending is more than just a blip. More

Subway joins breakfast Battle of Titans
Marketing Daily
The already intense competition for the declining but high-margin breakfast market is about to be pushed up several notches, as the nation's second-largest restaurant chain, Subway, joins the fray.More

Technomic ranks fastest-growing chains
The 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains registered a decline in sales, posting 0.8 percent annual sales decline in 2009. According to data released by Technomic Inc. in its annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, U.S. systemwide sales for the Top 500 declined to an estimated $230.0 billion in 2009, down almost $2 billion over 2008.More

Retailers testing out the drive-through lane
Chicago Tribune
You can pick up a hamburger at McDonald's, your allergy pills at Walgreens, your extra foamy latte at Starbucks and the cash to pay for it at your bank — all without leaving your car, thanks to an American invention called the drive-through. But when it comes to weekly shopping, aside from regional convenience stores like the Dairy Barn, staying in your car hasn't been an option.More

Reasor's selects KSS Retail for price modeling, optimization
Reasor's has selected the KSS Retail PriceStrat solution for price modeling and optimization from KSS Retail, a leading provider of price optimization and customer insight solutions for retailers worldwide.More

Walgreens profits gain on expanded merchandise
Media Post
Look for more beer, wine and food offerings at Walgreens, as the drugstore chain continues its efforts to optimize its product mix, and zeros in on the customer needs that it fills best.More

Forget about Twitter and Facebook - Why the American department store is the new social experience
In a world consumed with technology, where Twitter and Facebook are the new "hot spot" for social interactions, where - or rather how - does the department store fit in?More

Sell the way your customers buy
Chief Marketer
Every marketer's goal is to send relevant and engaging content to customers. But consumer buying behavior is evolving so quickly that the rules are constantly changing.More