ALA Executive Briefing
Apr. 18, 2014

Commentary: Defense civilian layoffs won't be pleasant, but they are necessary
Government Executive
(Rep. Ken Calvert in Government Executive) President Obama’s fiscal year 2015 budget would reduce the U.S. Army end strength to pre-World War II levels and would come on top of a reduced Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps. Our uniformed personnel continue to absorb cuts while the secretary of Defense ignores a significant portion of his budget that has continued to grow without restraint – the Defense Department’s civilian workforce.More

Kendall: Pentagon will tie budget proposals to needs, not budget caps
Defense News
The US Defense Department will continue sending Congress budget proposals that do not adhere to federal spending caps and will instead opt to develop budgets it believes are appropriate to defend the country, a senior Pentagon official saidMore

South Korean assembly expected to vote on funding to support US troops
Stars and Stripes
South Korean lawmakers this week are expected to vote on a controversial defense cost-sharing agreement that has sat untouched for months in the National Assembly, even as the resulting funding shortage has forced the U.S. military to take drastic steps to avert mass furloughs of its Korean employees.More

Industry Day DeCA Whole Facility Maintenance
Federal Business Opportunities
This is a notice announcing a pre-solicitation conference to be held at GSA, Building 41, Denver Federal Center, 6th and Kipling Street located in Lakewood, CO. The meeting is to be held in the Remington Arms Conference Room, located on the first floor of Building 41, on May 14 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. MDT. More

Linen Rental & Cleaning Service
Federal Business Opportunities
Linen/Mat Rental and Cleaning Service at various commissaries located in the Central Region of the US. The Period of Performance will be for a base period starting as early as July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015 and will include four one-year option periods that may extend performance through June 30, 2019. More

Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area, Custodial, and Residual Grocery Services
Federal Business Opportunities
Furnish all supervision, personnel, equipment, and supplies necessary to perform shelf stocking, receiving/storage/holding area, custodial, and residual grocery operations for the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA), Fort Hood II (Warrior Way) Commissary, located in Killeen, Texas, in accordance with the Government's Performance Work Statement (PWS). The solicitation includes a base period (August 1, 2014 through July 31, 2015) and four one-year option periods.More

4 ways American grocery shopping is changing forever
Business Insider
The grocery industry in the U.S. is undergoing some of the most dramatic changes since supermarkets emerged in the 1940s, according to retail analysts. Whereas a single store once served all of shoppers' food and beverage needs, consumers are now buying groceries across more than a dozen retail channels. More

Commissaries celebrate Month of the Military Child
The Lemoore Navy News
To honor military children, commissaries have fun ways for parents and their "little heroes" to learn about the nutritious value of fruits and vegetables. During April, the Month of the Military Child, commissary produce departments are inviting installation child development centers to take tours highlighting the health benefits of fruits and vegetables. Commissary store managers can also conduct this presentation at the child development center.More

2014 Scholarships for Military Children Program

A total of 600 recipients were selected from an applicant pool of 6,000 military children. Letters announcing their selection were mailed on April 17. Each recipient will receive a $2,000 scholarship grant, thanks to the generosity of DeCA trading partners/ALA member companies. The list of sponsoring companies, each paired to one or more commissary, and the number of recipients at each store are listed here. Point of contact: Jim Weiskopf, Fisher House Foundation.More

C&K Market to help soldiers call home
Progressive Grocer
C&K Market Inc. is teaming up with nonprofit Cell Phones for Soldiers to encourage shoppers to donate gently-used cellphones to help U.S. troops call home. Benefactors of this year's donation include the Oregon National Guard and the 235th Engineer Company (Sapper), a National Guard unit in Petaluma, Calif.More

Specialty food sales on the rise
Supermarket News
Millennials and their Boomer parents are driving sales in the specialty food market — encompassing products with limited distribution and a reputation for high quality — which grew to $88 billion in sales last year, according to the Specialty Food Association’s State of the Specialty Food Industry 2014 report, prepared in conjunction with Mintel International and SPINS. More

Boost shelf appeal
Store Brands
Without big marketing budgets, retailers often have to get creative when it comes to promoting their own-brand products to shoppers. One cost-effective form of marketing calls for creating a bigger impact at the point of decision: the store shelf. Retailers would be wise to consider the following three tips when developing the “sell at the shelf” strategy.More

Hot and cold breakfast cereals are heating up, Packaged Facts reports
Grocery Headquarters
“Cold and Hot Breakfast Cereals in the U.S.,” a new report from Packaged Facts, assesses the obstacles facing U.S. marketers of cold, or ready-to-eat, breakfast cereal and hot breakfast cereal and also identifies the opportunities still offered by American consumers. The report finds that breakfast cereal still represents a handy, convenient and satisfying meal or snack for millions of adults and fits well into the eating habits of today’s American consumer.More

Consumers hope to shake off winter blues this Easter
National Retail Federation
Ready for sunshine, chocolate eggs and jellybeans, consumers will welcome the Easter Bunny with open arms this year. According to NRF’s Easter Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, the average American celebrating the holiday will spend an average of $137.46 on apparel, food, candy, gifts and more, slightly less than the $145.13 spent last year. Total spending is expected to reach $15.9 billion.More

Omni-channel shopping means retailers must move faster than ever
Chain Store Age
While the shopping pace increases, many retailers are struggling to keep up with the demand for new marketing, promotional and pricing strategies. But the message is clear: omni-channel shopping means retailers must dynamically disrupt the path to purchase — or risk getting left behind.More

J.Crew grads strike out on their own
Bloomberg Businessweek
It wasn't until Emily Sugihara quit her job as an assistant designer at J.Crew that she started winning accolades from Mickey Drexler, the company's chief executive officer. After she left the rebounding American retailer in 2006, Sugihara and her mother parlayed a sewing hobby into a business selling affordable nylon and canvas bags. More

Bridget Bennett
The Packer
Bridget Bennett, supervisory category manager of produce at Defense Commissary Agency, Fort Lee, Va., describes her work in the produce industry as dynamic, challenging and rewarding. Bennett first became familiar with the industry and the Defense Commissary Agency as a shopper. As a young military spouse, Bennett began her career in the commissary as a cashier.More

Exchange delivers award-winning timeliness, accuracy and efficiency

Dallas — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is committed to providing servicemembers and their families access to the products they want, when they want them. When timely delivery is the objective, the organization relies on logistics to ensure customer satisfaction for military shoppers around the world. The Exchange’s logistics team’s efforts have not gone unnoticed as the Defense Transportation System (DTS) has ranked the Exchange top amongst its peers.

In fact, the Exchange recently received three Surface Deployment Distribution Command (SDDC) Shipper Compliance Awards for medium, large and extra-large volume of cargo moved through the DTS.

These SDDC Shipper Compliance Awards recognize the Exchange for its timely and accurate submissions of documentation. Beyond making the shipping process of transporting everyday necessities more efficient, accurate paper work also allows the Exchange to provide on time delivery of seasonal and top-selling products.

All three SDDC awards are based on the Exchange's report card, which monitors the effectiveness of the organization’s shipping capabilities. Each year, the Exchange and more than 2,000 other organizations are rated according to timeliness and accuracy. The SDDC reviews the reports and awards the top 15 shippers who submitted error-free shipping instructions (also known as bookings).

The Exchange's Dan Daniel Distribution Center booked a total of 5,771 shipments with 100 percent accuracy and was awarded the SDDC's Shipper Compliance award in the extra-large category.

With 1,035 shipments, the Konoike Pacific Consolidated Center won the large category while the Coastal Pacific Food Distribution Center booked 373 shipments and was top rated in the medium category.

All three centers were recognized for their 100 percent accuracy, timeliness and effectiveness.

"It's a great honor for the Exchange to receive three Shipper Compliance Awards from the SDDC," said the Exchange's Deputy Director of Logistics Col. Colice Powell. "A lot of hard work from a lot of different people goes into ensuring the right products arrive where they need to, when they need to. These awards recognize the commitment Exchange associates have for Soldiers, Airmen and their families." More

Study: US retail sales hit $4.53 trillion in 2013; e-commerce at $264 billion
Chain Store Age
Total U.S. retail sales during 2013 reportedly reached $4.53 trillion, a 4.2 percent increase from $4.35 billion in 2012. According to new data from EMarketer, e-commerce sales of $263.3 billion, up 16.9 percent from $225.3 billion the prior year, helped drive overall retail sales growth.More

Victoria's Secret Trims Apparel Collections
Women's Wear Daily (subscription)
Victoria's Secret will drop most of its wovens, outerwear and denim and cut down on the number of dress styles it sells through Victoria's Secret Direct, in a move to return the brand's focus to its core offerings of intimate apparel, fragrances and cosmetics.More

March retail sales struggle to grow amid cool weather, later Easter
Los Angeles Times
Retailers had a middling March, watching their sales improve from a frigid February while struggling to beat their performance from the same month last year. Two main factors impeded growth last month, according to several reports. More

The wealth effect and consumer spending
A recent Federal Reserve report shows that household finances have regained substantial ground since the Great Recession, driven largely by the run-up in home values and surge in stocks. These positive forces have contributed to the highest level of wealth in our history – the net worth of U.S. households and nonprofits reached $80.7 trillion by the end of 2013.More

Online shopping expectations for Easter 2014
National Retail Federation
With a tough winter loosening its grip, spring has never felt so good – and Easter shoppers are ready to celebrate. According to NRF's Easter consumer survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics, 19 percent of consumers anticipate making some portion of their Easter purchases online, roughly in line with 21 percent who said so last year.More

Family Dollar to close 370 stores, cut jobs and reduce prices after tough Q2
Chain Store Age
Family Dollar Stores Inc. plans to close about 370 underperforming stores , cut jobs and lower prices on 1,000 basic items on the heels of a disappointing second quarter. The retailer is also slowing its new store growth beginning in fiscal 2015 to bolster its return on investment. It now anticipates opening 350 to 400 new stores as opposed to approximately 525 stores in 2014.More

Costco shines in March as other retailers muddle through
Chain Store Age
March was a so-so month for retailers, whose performance was impacted by unspring-like, cold temperatures in many parts of the country and a late Easter. (Easter falls on April 20 this year as opposed to March 31 last year.)More

Wal-Mart aims to push organic foods into mainstream
Chicago Tribune
Wal-Mart is trying to make organic food more accessible to its budget-conscious shoppers. The nation's largest retailer is making a bigger bet on the fast-growing category, teaming with Wild Oats to sell organic packaged food priced in line with conventional foods and at least 25 percent less than other organic brands it carries. More

J. Crew Brings Back a Discontinued Swimsuit Just Because One Superfan Asked Nicely
Open letters to brands rarely work, though it might help your odds of success if you happen to be a fashion writer for New York magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Last August, freelance writer Jenni Avins penned an impassioned plea in New York magazine's The Cut blog, asking J. Crew to bring back its scoop back tank swimsuit. More

Belk opens flagship store in Dallas
Charlotte Business Journal
Belk Inc. marked the grand opening of its first flagship store in Texas. That three-story, 180,000-square-foot store is located at the Belk Galleria Dallas. Charlotte-based Belk and the Galleria Dallas shopping center shared the $20 million cost of that project.More

Easter spending expected to fall this year, NRF says
Chicago Tribune
Visions of Easter bunnies and warmer weather -- at last -- have consumers getting into the shopping spirit, but spending for the holiday is still expected to dip compared to last year, the nation’s largest retail trade group said Wednesday.More

Everything You Need To Know About How Teens Are Spending Money, What They Like, And Where They Shop
Business Insider
Piper Jaffray released its semiannual report on teen spending. We dug through the report and pulled out some of the most interesting facts and charts. More

'Showrooming' Hits Luxury Fashion
The Wall Street Journal (Subscription required)
Anna Cariati recently spotted a Saint Laurent clutch in a London boutique. Then the 28-year-old marketing coordinator went online and clicked to purchase on an independent website. More

For retailers, markdowns are 'necessary evil' and important tool
News & Observer
When Rhonda Sawyer first opened her women’s and children’s clothing store, she was extremely focused on the price of individual items. "My background was in accounting,” said Sawyer, who opened The Shoe Crate in Greenville about nine years ago. She would think, “I paid ‘X’ dollars for it, and I am not selling it unless I make ‘X’ dollars on it." More

As Wage Debate Rages, Some Have Made the Shift
The Wall Street Journal
As lawmakers in the nation's capital are mired in debate over likely outcomes from raising the federal minimum wage, businesses hit with local wage increases across the U.S. already are grappling with the reality.More

Coach to partner with Studio Sofield for new store concept
Chain Store Age
Coach announced that it has retained Studio Sofield, led by designer and President William Sofield, as creative advisor in the development of the company's next generation retail concept. The new concept will be unveiled in fall 2014, with the company's 4,000-sq.-ft. flagship in Beverly Hills, Calif., followed by the Coach store at the Time Warner Center in New York City (5,335 sq. ft.). More

Bullish US retail sales brighten growth outlook
U.S. retail sales recorded their largest gain in 1-1/2 years in March in a decisive sign the economy is bouncing back from its weather-induced slumber. Monday's upbeat report was the latest to indicate growth was set to accelerate in the second quarter after an unusually cold and snowy winter hobbled activity early in the year. More

Google Tests a Way to Follow You to the Mall
The Wall Street Journal
Retailers have long struggled to determine whether online ads fuel sales in their bricks-and-mortar stores. Now, Google Inc. is testing a way to solve that puzzle.More

C-Store Beverage Sales Up 2.8 percent in First Quarter
CSP Magazine
Ongoing strength in energy drinks and bottled water buoyed beverage sales in convenience stores in the first quarter of 2014. Non-alcoholic beverage sales grew 2.8 percent year over year, according to the latest Beverage Buzz survey of convenience retailers conducted by analyst Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities.More

Sheetz Looking to Expand Grocery Concept (Video)
CSP Magazine
Convenience store retailer Sheetz Inc. announced plans in March to open a "first-of-its-kind" grocery store location at University Place, a new student apartment and retail complex under construction at West Virginia University (WVU) in Morgantown, W.Va. The company may expand the concept to other college towns.More

Vitaminwater Enters the Energy-Drink Category
CSP Magazine
Coca-Cola Co.'s vitaminwater is entering the energy category with vitaminwater energy, a lightly-carbonated beverage that features a natural energy boost from green coffee-bean extract. Vitaminwater energy features natural flavors and sweeteners without added preservatives or sodium. it provides an option for those who could benefit from a natural energy kick.More

SOI Category Focus: Mixed Results for Beverage Subcategories
CSP Magazine
Despite frequent reports about the decline of carbonate-soft-drink sales, the beverage category did actually grow in convenience stores in 2013, according to preliminary NACS State of the Industry (SOI) survey figures.More

House Subcommittee Looks at Center for Tobacco Products
CSP Magazine
U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) has introduced H.R. 389, the Transparency in Tobacco User Fees Act, and the House Energy & Commerce Subcommittee on Health this week reviewed the bill and other legislation in two days of hearings. The legislation would require closer oversight of the spending and new-tobacco-product evaluation process of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products (CTP).More

What Are the Strongest Brands?
CSP Magazine
While watching Netflix's original series "House of Cards," maybe a viewer is quaffing a Sam Adams Light beer while popping Orville Redenbacher's popcorn or Snyder's of Hanover Pretzels. Perhaps they also consume Häagen Dazs ice cream or a Dannon yogurt during the show.More

Jones works to stop closure of military fast food outlets
Congressman Walter Jones
Congressman Walter B. Jones (NC-3) is calling for the Obama administration to exempt restaurants and other services provided to military personnel through exchanges and morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) programs from recent changes to wage rates for federal contractors. In February, President Barack Obama bypassed Congress to sign an executive order that raised the minimum wage for federal contractors – including food service workers at military installations – causing many restaurants to determine that it is cost prohibitive to continue serving military personnel on base. More

Know rules before fundraising on post
Ft. Meade SoundOff
You have a bunch of books, popcorn, cookies or Tupperware loaded onto a wagon and you are ready to pound the pavement looking for a sale. Or maybe you belong to an organization that raises money for charity and you found the perfect spot outside the Exchange to put up a tent. Either way, if you are hoping to fundraise on Fort Meade, there are some Army and federal regulations you need to keep in mind before you set up your stand or tie your laces. More