ALA Executive Briefing
Apr. 13, 2012

Young vets' joblessness hits 10.3 percent
Army Times
The Labor Department recently reported that the unemployment rate for Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans was 10.3 percent in March. That was slightly better than in March 2011 but higher than the current overall 8.2 percent national jobless rate. For veterans of all generations, the March unemployment rate was 7.5 percent, according to the monthly employment situation report prepared by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.More

First lady marks 1-year point for military effort
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
Michelle Obama has been everywhere from a West Point mess hall to a NASCAR speedway in the past year to drum up support for military families, and now she's capping the yearlong effort with a two-day, four-state tour to take stock of what's been done. Obama marked the anniversary of her "Joining Forces" initiative with a White House ceremony where she recognized businesses, community groups and other organizations working to help members of the armed forces, veterans and military families.More

Purple Up day promotes message of support for military children
Fayetteville Observer
If you see more people than usual wearing purple on April 13, there's a message involved. April is designated the Month of the Military Child and supporters are encouraging everyone to wear purple to show support for military children and the sacrifices their families have made.More

Campaign to FDA: We have a right to know what's in our food
The Gourmet Retailer
A record-breaking 1 million Americans of all political persuasions have called on the Food and Drug Administration to label genetically engineered foods. That's according to a new national survey by the Just Label It Campaign, which is said reveals that Americans across the political spectrum stand united in support of labeling food that has been genetically engineered.More

Self-checkout lanes boost convenience, theft risk
USA Today
Stores are increasingly adding self checkouts, which can make it more convenient for many people to shop — and steal. Wal-Mart and CVS are among the chains adding self-scanning lanes. But at least two grocery chains — Albertson's and New England-based Big Y — have abandoned their self service moves. Both cited customer service as the reason, although Big Y says shoplifting played into the decision.More

6 companies battling for Americans' grocery money
Consumer-staples retailers are undergoing abrupt changes to their industry. The latest example is the battle over Americans' grocery purchases being waged by traditional supermarkets, dollar-discount stores, big-box department stores and wholesale clubs. The fight has grown heated as more retailers of decidedly different stripes are offering refrigerated food products and, in some cases, prepared and fresh foods, which is contributing to a shift in buying habits.More

Grocery shopping strategy saves money
Consumer Reports found by changing your shopping strategy, you may be able to cut your bill in half. Consumer Reports' Todd Marks shopped for 30 common items; first as an impulsive shopper who never looks for a bargain, next as a savvy shopper who scours fliers and clips coupons, and as a store-brand fan. "I found you could save hundreds, even thousands of dollars a year if your shop smarter," said Marks.More

Ammonia used in many foods, not just 'pink slime'
Surprise rippled across America last month as a new wave of consumers discovered that hamburgers often contained ammonia-treated beef, or what critics dub "pink slime." What they may not have known is that ammonia — often associated with cleaning products — was cleared by U.S. health officials nearly 40 years ago and is used in making many foods, including cheese.More

BJ's debuts 'Farm to Club' produce
Progressive Grocer
BJ's Wholesale Club's new locally grown produce program, "Farm to Club," will roll out this spring and summer to all 195 of the company's clubs in its 15-state footprint. The program provides BJ's members with fresh produce from area farms, including zucchini, tomatoes, corn, green peppers, yellow squash and cucumbers, all clearly marked with a special "Farm to Club, Locally Grown" seal.More

Study: How are grocery shoppers advancing their use of digital media?
Business Wire via MarketWatch
Connecting with Modern Grocery Shoppers, a new report developed by Brick Meets Click in partnership with Grocery Shopping Network, will be released April 19. "This study draws the most complete picture to date of how grocery shoppers are blending old and new media to make food purchasing decisions," says Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click and chairman of Willard Bishop. "It will help food retailers and their suppliers more effectively manage the transition to a mix of print and digital communications."More

Best Buy CEO resigns, shares fall
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Shares of big-box retailer Best Buy Co. recently fell to a 52-week low as CEO Brian Dunn resigned abruptly over what the company said was a personal conduct issue. "Certain issues were brought to the board's attention regarding Mr. Dunn's personal conduct, unrelated to the company's operations or financial controls, and an audit committee investigation was initiated," said Best Buy spokeswoman Claire Koeneman. "Prior to the completion of the investigation, Mr. Dunn chose to resign."More

Earnings season begins with ominous signs for stocks
Since October, estimates for first-quarter earnings growth have tumbled while the S&P 500 has surged. As the earnings season starts, the outlook is not as sunny as in previous quarters.More

Sony to ax 10,000 jobs, expects $2.7 billion net loss
Sony Corp is cutting 10,000 jobs, about 6 percent of its global workforce, the Nikkei newspaper recently reported, as new CEO Kazuo Hirai comes under pressure to return the Japanese consumer electronics and entertainment company to profit after four years in the red.More

Apple's Cook is highest paid CEO
Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook was awarded $378 million in compensation last year, making him by far the top-paid CEO among big public companies in a study recently published in the New York Times.More

JC Penney cuts 600 workers from headquarters staff
Chain Store Age
The ax has fallen at J.C. Penney Co. The company recently laid off 600 workers from its corporate headquarters Plano, Texas, as its looks to streamline its business model amid a major reinvention of the business. The staff reduction, which equaled 13-14 percent of the headquarters staff, did not include any senior executives, according to The New York Times.More

Warm weather gives apparel retailers, department stores a boost in March
Chain Store Age
Many apparel retailers and department stores registered solid gains in March, as an early spring brought out shoppers looking for seasonal merchandise earlier than they typically would. Last month was the warmest March in North America in more than 50 years, according to weather data provider Planalytics.More

Sears looks to expand signature brands outside stores
Chain Store Age
Sears Holdings Corp. has appointed Leveraged Marketing Corp. of America as its exclusive global licensing agent as it looks to capitalize on, and ways to sell, its signature Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard brands outside its own stores.More

Costco announces new locations
Chain Store Age
Costco Wholesale Club said it plans to open up to an additional eight warehouses prior to the end of its fiscal year on Sept. 2.More

Warm weather, spring fashion boost March retail sales
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Retailers from discounter Target to department-store chain Macy's reported better-than-expected sales in March in the latest sign that Americans are feeling better about the economy. A combination of warm weather and high demand for spring fashions boosted revenue for the month, but analysts say there's much more than higher temperatures at play: Americans who cut back on spending in the slow economic recovery are encouraged by the improving job market.More

Survey ranks the 10 most 'relevant' retailers
Chain Store Age is America's most relevant retailer, followed by Target, according to Brodeur Partners' Retail Relevance Top 10 ranking. The study asked shoppers to look at 21 of the nation's top retailers and select the "most" and "least" personally relevant retailer in four specific areas: practicality, values, sensory appeal and social appeal. More

Deloitte survey: Consumers more optimistic; looking to shop more at discount stores
Chain Store Age
More than half of consumers (67 percent) said they plan to spend the same or more at retailers than they did last year, a 9 percent increase from last year, according to the 2012 Spring Consumer Pulse Survey by Deloitte. Consumers also feel slightly better about the economy this year than last; 57 percent of survey respondents said the economy has been recently recovering, compared with 52 percent last year. More

Convenience store sales totaled $682 billion in 2011
Chain Store Age
In-store convenience store sales grew 2.4 percent, reaching a record $195.0 billion in 2011, according to data recently released by the National Association of Convenience Stores. Combined with $486.9 billion in gasoline sales, total convenience store sales in 2011 were $681.9 billion.More

Milk, bread...and a doctor visit
A dozen years ago, the first retail health clinic — a QuickMedx, later MinuteClinic — opened at a Cub Foods store in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. Treatment was available for seven specific conditions: strep throat, mononucleosis, flu, female bladder infections, ear infections, sinus infections and pregnancy testing. Patients paid cash, and then went on their way. Since then, however, a shortage of primary care physicians, rising concerns about access and costs, looming health reform requiring expanded coverage and care coordination and the ever-older baby boomer population have combined to create a unique prescription for success.More

Report: Coupon offers decline 8.1 percent
MarketingDaily via MediaPost
Food marketers drastically cut their use of coupons last year, issuing 13.1 percent fewer coupons than they did in the prior year. That amounted to 305 billion coupons, a decline of 8.1 percent in all categories, reports NCH Marketing Services. More

Burger King goes public again
The Wall Street Journal
Burger King Holdings Inc. is to become a public company again through a complex deal with an investment fund co-owned by William Ackman. Justice Holdings Ltd., a U.K.-listed investment vehicle, will take a 29 percent stake in the hamburger restaurant chain and pay Burger King's current owner, 3G Capital Management, $1.4 billion in cash, the parties said. In the process, Justice Holdings will cease to list as an independent company. (Subscription required.)More

GNC launches new app for Android and iPhones
Chain Store Age
GNC Holdings announced the release of its new iPhone application and introduction to Android Market. The application will follow GNC's successful entry into the smartphone marketplace with its March 2011 launch of the GNC iPhone application, which has received more than 100,000 downloads to date.More

McDonald's pursuit of perfect fries risks overpromising
Bloomberg via Yahoo Finance
Biting into a McDonald's Corp. French fry should be like "walking on freshly fallen snow," according to Barbara Booth, the company's director of sensory science, while presiding over the fast food giant's semi-annual French Fry Evaluation — a contest among McCain Foods Ltd., ConAgra Foods Inc.'s Lamb Weston and J.R. Simplot Co. to cook perfect versions of McDonald's "World Famous Fries."More

NACS study: Hidden fees lead to higher pump prices
Convenience Store News
The price at the pump is getting higher every day, and a new study finds there is more than meets the eye. NACS, the Association for Convenience and Fuels Retailing, has uncovered that motorists are paying six to 10 cents a gallon in hidden bank fees every time they gas up. In addition, swipe fees increase along with the price of gas, even though banks are not doing anything extra to process the transaction.More

Consumers still focused on value — but make an exception for their pets
Store Brands
Even though shoppers remain focused on value, they continue to shop the higher-priced pet specialty channel for their furry friends, notes "U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2012-2013," a new report from the Packaged Facts division of Rockville, Md.-based

Wal-Mart rolls out skills program for women factory workers
Women's Wear Daily
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. recently revealed the launch of a five-year program to empower 60,000 women who work in the factories it uses, teaching them critical life skills such as communication and hygiene. The program, part of a larger global women's empowerment initiative, will roll out in Bangladesh and India this year, and will include leadership training for about 8,000 participants. (Subscription required.)More

Gens X, Y reshape online, mobile shopping
MarketingDaily via MediaPost
With American shoppers settling into what they see as a gradually improving economy, new research from Deloitte underscores the preference toward online shopping, including the mobile onslaught. Overall, 47 percent of those in the survey agree that they are buying more online these days, up from 38 percent last year. And 65 percent say they are doing more online research beforehand to get the best prices, compared with 60 percent last year and 52 percent back in 2010.More

Save the date!

May 21: Dallas Chapter/Commanders Cup Golf event
Bear Creek Golf Club
3500 Bear Creek Court, Dallas, Texas 75261
Click here for directions and here for the official flier.More

exchange council action brief

ALA Exchange E-Blast week 4/13/12 Save the dates:

May 21, 2012 — Dallas Chapter/Commanders Cup Golf event
Click here for registration.
Bear Creek Golf Club
3500 Bear Creek Court, Dallas, Texas 75261
Click here for directions and here for the official flier.

June 19, 2012 — Congressional Caucus, House Office Building Washington, D.C. (Date Change)

August 20–23, 2012 — Hawaii Conference & Food Show

Go to:, sign in and CHECK OUT the information.


Command Sergeant Major Earl L. Rice
CSM, Installation Management Command

CSM Earl L. Rice enlisted in the U.S. Army in November 1981. He received his Basic and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Ga. During his 28 years of service, CSM Rice has held numerous leadership positions which include: Squad Leader; Section Leader; Platoon Sergeant; Drill Sergeant; First Sergeant; ROTC instructor; Battalion Command Sergeant Major; Brigade Command Sergeant Major; and Post Command Sergeant Major.

CSM Rice has held numerous Command Sergeant Major positions, including XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg, N.C., Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, U.S. Army Infantry Center and Fort Benning, U.S. Army Africa – Southern European Task Force; Joint Readiness Training Center and Fort Polk, La.; the 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade; 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

Throughout his career, CSM Rice has continued to further his military and civilian education and training. He has completed the Basic Airborne School, Ranger School, Jumpmaster School, Pathfinder School, Drill Sergeant School, Instructor Training Course, Jungle Warfare School and Reconnaissance School. He is also a graduate of all Noncommissioned Officer Educational Schools including the Battle Staff Course, First Sergeant Course and the Keystone Course. He received the Association of the United States Army Leadership Award during the First Sergeant Course and was selected as the Iron Person Awardee for both the First Sergeant and Battle Staff Courses. In 1991 he was selected as the 82nd Airborne Division and the XVIII Airborne Corps Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. He holds a Bachelor of Science from Regents College and a Master of Business Administration in Human Resource Management from TUI.

CSM Rice's awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star Medal with V Device and two oak leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal with eight oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal with seven oak leaf clusters, Southwest Asia Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with Arrow Head, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Kuwait Liberation Medals (Saudi Arabia and Kuwait), Drill Sergeant Identification Badge, Master Parachutist Badge (with Bronze Star), Pathfinder Badge, Ranger Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge and five Foreign Parachutist Badges.
CSM Rice is married and has five children.More

Secretary of the Army announces program to aid civilian employees
U.S. Army
Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh recently announced the creation of the Senior Enterprise Talent Management program, an initiative designed to prepare civilian employees to assume positions of greater responsibility within the Department of the Army through advanced senior-level educational and experiential learning opportunities.More

Army Family and MWR Programs

Become a volunteer and share your skills in your community. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to decide the hours and type of work you will do. Meet exciting people from different backgrounds with different skill sets. Contact your local Army Community Service Center for details.

Throughout history, volunteers have played an integral role in the life of soldiers and their families.More

Family Matters Blog: Top 10 reasons I admire military children
U.S. Department of Defense
Elaine Sanchez writes, "In honor of April's Month of the Military Child, I created a Top 10 list of the qualities I most appreciate about children from military families. Their amazing service and sacrifice deserve a much longer list, but I figured this would at least be a start."More