ALA Executive Briefing
Apr. 24, 2015

Defense hearings: House budget details finally arriving
Military Times
The House Armed Services Committee begins marking up its version of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, the first public statement on where the lawmakers will come down on pay raises, benefits reform and platform funding.More

Tricare reform not in House plans this year
Military Times
The House Armed Services Committee will not consider a sweeping overhaul of the military's Tricare health program in its fiscal 2016 defense bill, panel Republicans said.More

Lawmakers support 2.3 percent military pay hike, but quietly
Military Times
A key House committee is quietly backing a 2.3 percent military pay raise next year, a full percentage point higher than what the Pentagon requested.More

House Armed Services rejects new round of base closures
The Hill
Members of the House Armed Services Committee once again trashed a proposal by President Barak Obama for a new round of military base closures.More

Philpott: Commissary-exchange consolidation gaining steam
Pensacola News Journal
Consolidation of the Defense Commissary Agency and three separate military exchange services into a single Defense Retail Activity is gaining support among policymakers inside the Department of Defense and perhaps a key congressional subcommittee, a source reports.More

Advocates expand fight over military retirement changes
Military Times
Military advocates in favor of retirement reform are pushing lawmakers to move ahead on the issue, saying the change could help strengthen the fighting force and the financial lives of troops. More

Military, veterans groups urge Congress not to allow radical, irreversible changes to critical benefits
The National Military and Veterans Alliance (NMVA), a nonpartisan policy and advocacy organization composed of military and veteran service organizations, also sent a letter to congressional leaders this week urging them to reject the DoD budget proposal to cut $322 million in commissary funding and legislative changes enabling these cuts. "NMVA believes the cuts are premature. Two recent reports, one from RAND and one from the Business Executives for National Security (BENS), call into question DoD's strategy related to the future of the commissaries and exchanges, particularly raising prices on food and household goods. It is our understanding that none of the DoD proposals have been appropriately evaluated and, if the cuts are implemented, the Defense Commissary Agency will have no choice but to begin diminishing both the savings and access to the benefit." More

Coalition urges Congress to reject cuts to commissary budget
Military Times
A coalition of organizations advocating to protect military shopping benefits has sent a letter to leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services committees urging them to reject the Pentagon's proposed cuts to commissary funding. They also asked the committees to reject the legislative changes the Pentagon has requested, which would allow the commissaries to raise prices in order to pay for some operating costs. "The Pentagon's budget cuts will destroy the commissary benefit," the Coalition to Save Our Military Shopping Benefits wrote in an April 16 letter ... Repeatedly, families noted that they wouldn't shop at commissaries if prices rise, which would, in effect end the benefit. More

AUSA opposes commissary cuts
Association of the United States Army
The Association of the U.S. Army is a co-signer of a letter to Congress opposing proposed cuts in funding for commissaries. Along with other members of the Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits, the association is asking Congress to reject a Defense Department proposal that would cut $322 million in commissary funding in fiscal year 2016. A similar letter from a federal employee union was sent in March to the leaders of the congressional committees responsible for military personnel policy. The American Federation of Government Employees said the cut in commissary funding "is a badly disguised attempt to put the commissaries into a death spiral."More

MOAA urges Congress to sustain military pay and benefits
Military Officers Association of America
Budget cuts undo Congress's decade of work to rebalance military compensation with the extraordinary demands and sacrifices of a military career. The FY 2016 budget submission proposes several significant pay and benefit cuts that are inconsistent with the extreme sacrifices exemplified by the last 13 years of combat operations. Capping pay, increasing out-of-pocket expenses for housing, slashing commissary savings, and increasing TRICARE costs for military families would repeat the insidious measures that led to retention and readiness problems in the past. More

Meat Department Non-Expendable Supplies for the Ft. Rucker Commissary Grand Opening
This combined synopsis/solicitation is for non-expendable supplies for the new Ft. Rucker Commissary Meat Department. This requirement is being solicited as a 100% small business set-aside. More

Produce Department Non-Expendable Supplies for the Ft. Rucker Commissary Grand Opening
This combined synopsis/solicitation is for non-expendable supplies for the new Ft. Rucker Commissary Produce Department. This requirement is being solicited as a 100% small business set-aside.More

Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area (RSHA), and Custodial Services
Solicitation Number: HDEC08-15-R-0015. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08). More

Shelf Stocking, Receiving Storage Holding Area and Custodial Services
Finish all necessary supervision, personnel, equipment, and supplies to perform shelf stocking, and custodial operations for the Defense Commissary Agency (DECA), Laughlin AFB, Texas, in accordance with the Government's Performance Work Statement (PWS).More

Shelf Stocking and Custodial Operations for the Fort Belvoir Commissary, located at Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Solicitation Number: HDEC08-15-R-0003. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08). More

Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area and Custodial Operations at the Fort Myer Commissary for the Defense Commissary Agency located at Fort Myer, Virginia
Solicitation Number: HDEC08-15-R-0009. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08). More

Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area, and Custodial Operations at the McGuire AFB Commissary, located at McGuire AFB, New Jersey
Solicitation Number HDEC08-15-R-0012 for Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding, and Custodial Operations at the McGuire Air Force Base Commissary, McGuire AFB, New Jersey, is amended as follows; questions and answers are provided, attendees at the site visit and the proposal receipt date is extended to May 5, 2015.More

Defense Commissary Agency updates on its environmental goals
EPR Retail News
Green purchasing, food bank donations and recycling highlight a long list of things the Defense Commissary Agency is doing to reach "net zero waste" and other environmental goals.More

Experts' findings may have gluten-free dieters rethinking their meal-planning
We've all heard about it — the gluten-free diet — but now consumer experts are poking holes in the craze, saying that some gluten-free foods are actually unhealthy alternatives to the real deal.More

Data on chemicals in food: Annual overview for the general public
News Analytic
A new EFSA report aims to give nonspecialists a balanced view of the findings of annual EU-wide monitoring of levels of chemicals in food. More

Meat, seafood experts rule as top-ranked in-store services
Progressive Grocer
In the current food retailing war, supermarkets are clearly in the crosshairs of many formidable contenders. For that reason, grocers are pulling out all the tools in the shed to help them shine in a sea of sameness, with strategies to help impart an experience, rather than just another place to pick up products that can be sold anywhere. More

Analyst: 'Pure food' trend a boon to supermarkets
Supermarket News
The so-called "mainstreaming" of the health and wellness trend is increasingly tarnishing iconic food suppliers while helping supermarket retailers in particular gain a greater control of food industry profits, an analyst said. More

The pros and cons of supermarket self-checkout
Consumer Reports
There's a lot to like about your supermarket's self-checkout. It's usually a fast track out the door, shoppers who use it tend to have fewer items in their carts and you can pack your bags more carefully because you're in complete control. Three-quarters of the 62,917 subscribers who participated in Consumer Reports' latest grocery-store survey tried to check themselves out over the past year, and nearly 3 out of 4 who did so applauded it as a time-saver.More

USDA to propose standards for organic seafood raised in US
The Associated Press via ABC News
After more than a decade of delays, the government is moving toward allowing the sale of U.S.-raised organic fish and shellfish. But don't expect it in the grocery store anytime soon.More

Healthy eating sparks M&A on blurring frontier between food and drugs
A boom in "nutraceuticals" — food and drinks with potential health benefits — is paving the way for a rush of deals, as food and drug companies compete to dominate a market expected to be worth $280 billion by 2018. More

Consumer Reports: How does your supermarket stack up?
Daily Local News
What makes a supermarket great? Years ago, says Consumer Reports, the answer might have been low prices, checkout speed or variety. Now another consideration is top of mind: "fresh."More

Food safety legislation continues brisk pace set last year
Food Safety News
From raw milk to GMO labeling and more, food safety legislation at the state level is forging ahead this year, following an exceptionally busy year in 2014, according to a new report from the National Conference of State Legislatures. More

Bye-bye, food dye: Kraft Mac & Cheese just got duller
The Washington Post
Almost 80 years after its invention, Kraft Mac & Cheese is about to change. Under pressure from "healthier" competitors and a controversial food blogger, the company says it is stripping all artificial preservatives and synthetic colors from its most iconic item. More

Consumer Reports: The best supermarket store brands
Buying store brands is a great way to save some money, and they're often better or equal in quality to name brands. Out of 68 different supermarket chains that Consumer Reports looked at, these are the stores with the best store brands overall.More

Air Force further tightens rules on tobacco use
Stars and Stripes
The Air Force is once again tightening rules on tobacco use on its installations, further clarifying where airmen can — or rather, won't be able to — get their nicotine fix.More

Tina Parmentier, NEXCOM's household goods buyer
Tina was selected by the 3M Company to be its 3M Company Buyer of the Year for 2014. Sales and marketing teams were asked to nominate retail account professionals for recognition based on several key performance criteria. Over the last four years, Tina has continually exceeded the overall growth figures and outpaced other retailers. She has managed to cultivate both excitement and growth with their brand families of Scotch Brite, Scotch Guard, O-Cel-O, and 3M brand products by more than 5 percent over the last four years and also in a challenging retail environment in 2014. In addition to sales and distribution measurements, this award recognizes individual professionalism and category enthusiasm toward achieving mutual partnership goals.More

Sprint RadioShack launches in 1,435 stores
Chain Store Age
A new chapter in the ongoing saga of RadioShack started recently with Sprint launching retail operations in 1,435 RadioShack stores.More

Walton family to sell part of Wal-Mart stake
Chain Store Age
Walton Enterprises LLC, the corporation which holds Wal-Mart stock for the Walton family, plans to sell off some of its ownership stake in the discount giant. In a brief statement on the Wal-Mart investors webpage, Walton Enterprises said its stake in Wal-Mart has risen to about 50 percent as a result of stock buyback programs.More

Target names former Safeway, PetSmart exec to revamp grocery
Chain Store Age
Target Corp. has named former Safeway and PetSmart executive Anne Dament to the role of senior VP, merchandising. She will be responsible for leading the strategic repositioning of Target's food business.


6 percent of US adults plan to buy Apple Watch
Total Telecom
Approximately 6 percent of U.S. adults plan to buy an Apple Watch, a modest proportion but in all likelihood large enough for Apple's first smartwatch to be considered a success.More

Michael Kors, teen fashion idol
Bloomberg Business
Michael Kors isn't just for grownups. The fashion line known for posh handbags and its signature MK print turns out to have an enormous teenage fan base. More

Americans' spending on dining out just overtook grocery sales for 1st time
Bloomberg Business
Pass the menu, hold the shopping cart. Grocery stores are finding it harder to make headway with shoppers as a surge in spending at restaurants over the past several months signals Americans are more likely to ditch the brown bags in favor of doggy bags.More

New head of Wal-Mart says stores are key to winning customers online
Internet Retailer
Wal-Mart's 4,500 stores are a "competitive advantage" in terms of quickly getting Web purchases in the hands of customers, Greg Foran says.More

New Paramus jewelry store part of shiny outlook for industry
Fareed Zahid is a 24-year-old millennial-generation entrepreneur who is betting that jewelry is something people his age want to buy in a physical store, rather than online.More

Will tax season be a boon or bust for retailers?
Will the nation's stores gain a meaningful sales boost from Uncle Sam this tax season? Shopper surveys paint a mixed picture. More

Why there's still a future for Best Buy
The Globe and Mail
The funny thing about Best Buy owning a chain called Future Shop is the widespread belief that Best Buy has little, if anything, to do with the future of shopping.More

New Convenience Store Roundup for March
This edition of New C-Store Roundup features new convenience-store openings, sales, acquisitions and store closings with listings for the month of March.More

Mobile devices 'changing retail as we know it'
Retailers including convenience stores are focused on significantly expanding the use of mobile technology for point-of-sale, customer engagement and payments, according to a recent report by Boston Retail Partners.More

Kloza: Cheap oil will continue
As Tom Kloza walked out to "I Can See Clearly Now" — a song that debuted in 1972, the last time the United States was producing more crude oil than today — he said the world is facing a vastly different gas and oil landscape than it has in years past. Specifically, he said oil prices were about 50 percent less than this time last year.More

CSP kitchen: Go hot or go home
Bold is so five years ago. Today's consumers have an endless appetite for heat, researchers say. "I can't overstate the importance of spicy and hot as a menu trend for 2015," says Maeve Webster, senior director of Chicago research Firm Datassential.More

E-cigarette use triples among middle, high school students
Current electronic cigarette use among middle and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products in the latest Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report.More

New opportunities to share a Coke
Coca-Cola is bringing back one of its most successful U.S. programs of all time. "Share a Coke" swept the nation last summer, and now, Coca-Cola bottles across the country will once again feature the names of millions of Americans.More

1st Wawa with indoor seating coming to Philadelphia
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter unveiled the first renderings of the new Wawa convenience store at Broad and Walnut streets in Center City, Philadelphia's central business district. The new location will have "a look that is unlike any store that we have," Wawa Inc. president and CEO Chris Gheysens told Philadelphia magazine.More

In the works: FMWR offers NAF employment opportunities
Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation exists because the Army is committed to the well-being of the community of people who serve and stand ready to defend the nation.

Civilians working for FMWR provide these services and activities to support Soldiers, Families, Department of the Army civilians, and retirees. More than 28,000 FMWR employees worldwide, strive to deliver the highest quality programs and services at each installation — from Family, child and youth programs to recreation, sports, entertainment, travel and leisure activities. Their mission is to serve the needs, interests and responsibilities of each individual in the Army community for as long as they are associated with the Army, no matter where they are.

If you are ready for a challenge, if you want to believe in your work and truly make an impact — explore what FMWR has to offer. FMWR positions are found in a wide variety of areas that support our community. More

Bikes over Baghdad: Episode 4
Chicago-based Pro BMX rider Brian Kachinsky is entertaining U.S. servicemen and women in the Middle East as part of the Bikes over Baghdad program. He is providing video and other dispatches from the other side of the globe you can find only at RedEye.More

Hawaii: New program offers deals to military patrons
Morale, Welfare and Recreation at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam recently introduced discounted prices on activities, attractions and restaurants with the launch of the Great Life Hawaii Deals program.More