ALA Executive Briefing
Jun. 8, 2012

House passes bill that would extend pay freeze for some civilians
Government Executive
A spending bill the House recently approved includes language that would effectively extend the two-year pay freeze for some civilian employees. The White House pledged to veto the measure.More

House passes veterans funding bill
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
The Republican-controlled House recently approved legislation to boost health care spending for veterans and provide more money to compensate record numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans claiming service-related disabilities as they return home. More

Rep. McKeon rips Obama, Sen. Reid for ignoring sequestration
The Hill
House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., recently ripped into President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for failing to try to stop $500 billion in automatic cuts to Defense spending, in his most pointed remarks yet about the threat of sequestration. More

War funding reversal adds new sequester targets
Bloomberg Government via Early Bird
Defense programs once considered exempt from automatic budget cuts recently became vulnerable, when the Pentagon said funds for the war in Afghanistan and operations in Iraq aren't exempt from sequestration. Including war funds will reduce the size of the across-the-board defense reductions to 10 percent from 11.5 percent, even as it exposes to cuts some procurement programs that once were considered protected.More

Federal workers' numbers decline
USA Today
The federal government has started to trim its workforce, ending several years of explosive and controversial growth that came at a time when private companies and state and local governments slashed jobs.More

US to shift most of naval fleet to Pacific by 2020
Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News
The United States will shift the majority of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020 as part of a new strategic focus on Asia, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta told a summit in Singapore. The decision to deploy more ships to the Pacific Ocean, along with expanding a network of military partnerships, was part of a "steady, deliberate" effort to bolster the US role in an area deemed vital to America's future, said Panetta. And he insisted the switch in strategy was not a challenge to China, saying it was compatible with the development and growth of the fast-growing Asian power.More

The cost of Obama's food tax and regulation proposals
U.S. News & World Report
In this new era of food austerity, people are cutting back on the food they love. Much to the chagrin of children nationwide, bakery foods such as donuts, cookies, breads, candy, and store-made desserts are no longer landing in our grocery carts. Coupon use is on the rise and brand loyalty is a thing of the past as the majority polled said they are switching to store and generic brands and would try a new product if a coupon was offered. People are even getting more organized by preparing grocery lists ostensibly to cut down on spontaneous purchases.More

Kroger puts pork suppliers on notice
Progressive Grocer
The Kroger Co. is urging its pork suppliers to step up their efforts to find an alternative to gestation crates for housing pregnant sows. Kroger reports that, over the past few months, it has reviewed the opinions of animal welfare experts and other experts regarding the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows and has concluded that there are many ways to humanely house sows.More

Key dates, uses for plastic grocery bags
ABC News
With Los Angeles preparing to become the largest city in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags, here is a short history of the ubiquitous sack.More

As temperatures rise, so do grocery and gas prices
Deseret News
The cost of groceries crept up in the Salt Lake Valley this month. Despite significant price cuts on a number of supermarket staples, a cart full of popular items, a tank of gas and a weekend outing was just under $2 more expensive than in early May, according to the Deseret News' monthly shopping spree.More

Buying in bulk: Which food items to buy at warehouse stores
The Huffington Post
Everyone loves a deal, especially so when it comes to grocery shopping. The allure of saving without using coupons has lured many consumers over to warehouse stores like Costco, BJ's and Sam's Club. These megastores make you think you're saving money by buying items in bulk sizing, but are you really getting a deal?More

Does eating organic food make you a jerk?
Fox News
A new and very provocative study, "Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Morals? Organic Foods Reduce Prosocial Behavior and Harshen Moral Judgments," by Dr. Kendall J. Eskine from Loyola University New Orleans, indicates that buying and consuming organic foods can actually induce self righteousness and selfish behavior. What influences someone to go organic? Organic foods in general cost more than conventionally grown foods, so why pay more for already expensive food? Some controversial explanations are provided by the author of the study.More

A discount retailer even Wal-Mart envies
The Wall Street Journal
The old ditty goes, "I found a million-dollar baby in a five-and-ten-cent store." Sadly, inflation has done away with that once-successful retailing concept. But its modern counterpart, the dollar store, is thriving. And today, Dollar General Corp., a $16 billion baby by market value, is looking like the best of the breed. (Subscription required.)More

Ikea, Costco, other retailers know how to get you to buy more
National Post
Persuading a customer to buy is the holy grail of retail. It may be the lighting, or an artificial scent introduced to put people in a particular mood to purchase a particular product. At a time when retail experts are capitalizing on mobile apps and digital technology, retailers are also finding new, less visible ways to tweak browsers into buyers, and buyers into even bigger spenders.More

Jean mutation: How red, pink and mustard took over
The Wall Street Journal
It's hard to miss the season's most prominent denim trend: blinding color. Potent shades of lavender, pink, green and yellow, once reserved for children's clothing, are showing up on jeans in fashionable store windows. They are hitting the streets on men, as well as women and getting the full treatment in the spring/summer fashion press from Teen Vogue to Elle magazine. (Subscription required.)More

Best Buy announces new gaming promotions
Kantar Retail
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Best Buy announced new incentives for Reward Zone Gamers Club members. Reward Zone Gamers Club members can still upgrade their free memberships to "Unlocked" status by paying $14.99/year, and @Gamer magazine, which Reward Zone Gamer's Club Unlocked members receive for free, is now available in a digital version. More

What's hot in retail
Retail's BIG Blog
The month of May brought encouraging industry news, as retailers enjoyed reports of another month of growth in April. Last month also marked NRF's annual DC fly-in, which united hundreds of retailers from across the country with their Congressmen and closed the doors one of NRF's most innovative campaigns yet. More

New York plans to ban sale of big sizes of sugary drinks
The New York Times
New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity. More

Pizza Hut tries the sandwich market again
The New York Times
"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie,' the song goes, "that's amore." But there is little love lost when a big maker of pizza pie gets hit in the eye with the success of sandwiches. More

JC Penney brings back some promotions
The Wall Street Journal
J.C. Penney Co. is backpedaling on its nonpromotional stance, with plans to add more Friday sale days as it licks its wounds from an abysmal first quarter. The retailer is expected to start its sales on some additional Fridays and to keep merchandise marked down until it is bought. The move, with five such Friday sales planned this year, is extending the "Best Price Friday" program that Penney already holds on the first and third Fridays of the month. (Subscription required.) More

Sears refashions some stores in push to connect with customers, bolster sagging sales
Chicago Tribune
At its annual meeting, new merchandising chief Ron Boire said Sears is experimenting with new store designs in an effort to better connect with customers — part of its plans to get back to basics. But analysts are skeptical of those vows, noting that revamping Sears' aging retail stores has never been high on the company's to-do list. More

More competition could cut into Best Buy's lucrative Geek Squad service
Minnesota Public Radio News
Best Buy sees an especially needy — and lucrative — market for its Geek Squad tech services in the aging baby boom generation. But the retailer, which is seeing competitors eat into its consumer electronics sales, also faces increasing competition from rivals offering tech help. More

Wal-Mart takes aim at Best Buy with ads
Star Tribune
Best Buy Co. Inc.'s plans to close 50 big-box stores by the end of the year is creating, at least temporarily, a consumer electronics hole that Wal-Mart is eager to fill. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant has taken out full-page newspaper ads, including in the Star Tribune, urging shoppers to patronize Wal-Mart stores in markets where Best Buy stores will soon shut down.More

Gov. Chris Christie calls on Congress for e-fairness solution
Retail's BIG Blog
Recently, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urged Congress to support Sen. Lamar Alexander's Marketplace Fairness Act to give states the option to decide how to deal with the current sales tax collection loophole. Gov. Christie's statement is another strong conservative voice in the growing chorus for Congressional action.More

Amazon accepts laptops and netbooks in trade-in program
Kantar Retail
After including CDs as eligible items for its Trade-In Program in early April, Amazon has added laptops and netbooks to the list of electronics that it will buy back from customers in return for gift cards. More

Shady car dealers targeting military buyers
It's unfortunate. Shady car dealers often target military customers. Unethical salespeople see them as easy marks. Holly Petraeus, director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, warns military personnel to be on guard when they walk onto a car lot. More

Screens get a place at the table
The Wall Street Journal
The appetizer order is promptly taken. The check is presented and processed the moment you are ready to pay. The children are entertained throughout the meal. But it isn't the waiter you have to thank for this efficient dining experience. A growing number of restaurants including Chili's Grill & Bar, Applebee's and Chevys Fresh Mex are using or testing small, interactive computer screens at the table. More

Staying on your customers' friends list
Retail Customer Experience
Many of us strive to be No. 1, but when it comes to social circles, the first task is to make it into the 150. That is the maximum number of relationships the average human brain can manage, according to Robin Dunbar, a professor of Oxford University. Almost 20 years has passed since Dunbar's Number was introduced, and technology has vastly changed our lives, but recent research shows the human capacity for relationships has not changed.More

Chocolate candy sales top $20 billion
The Gourmet Retailer
The $20 billion U.S. chocolate candy market, which is mature, differentiated and demanding, is challenging for marketers of chocolate products seeking to distinguish themselves from the competition, according to "Chocolate Candy in the U.S." report from Packaged Facts.More

Starbucks to upgrade food by buying artisan bakery chain
Los Angeles Times
In hopes of upgrading its pastry offerings, Starbucks Coffee Co. plans to spend $100 million to acquire the San Francisco artisan bakery Bay Bread and its La Boulange brand. The company's pastries are made using fresh and locally sourced ingredients favored by its French founder, Pascal Rigo.More

Retail industry sets sights on consumers with tablets
Mobile Commerce Press
While tablet mobile devices may be new to consumers, the technology has successfully established a foothold with a large number of people. In the U.S. alone, it is expected that more than 60 million consumers will own some type of tablet device by the end of the year. The retail industry has taken note of this trend because of the apparent popularity of mobile commerce and the effectiveness of mobile marketing.More

7-Eleven cracks top 10 best-perceived grocery chain list
Convenience Store News
7-Eleven is one of the top 10 best-perceived grocery chains in the eyes of consumers who consider themselves healthy, coinciding with the May launch of the Fanta Sugar-Free Mango Slurpee Lite, reported YouGov BrandIndex, the daily consumer perception research service of brands. 7-Eleven is ranked No. 9 on the list, beating out chains such as Winn-Dixie, Wild Oats, A&P and Stop and Shop.More

Smartphone users doing more mobile shopping
In yet another case diminishing the "phone" part of smartphones, online research company comScore recently reported that a monthly average of 19 million Americans, or 17.4 percent of all smartphone owners, made purchases from their smartphones in February, March and April.More

Save the dates!

June 25: ALA New York Chapter Golf Event
Click here for registration form and directions.

Aug. 21-23: Hawaii Conference & Food Show
Click here for registration form and more information.More

Operation Give Back — Mission Summer

Participating locations:
Fort Bragg
Fort Hood
Fort Campbell
Fort Lewis
Fort Bliss
Wright-Patterson AFB
Lackland AFB
Scott AFB
Nellis AFB
Tinker AFB

Timing: June 29-July 1

POS will be sent to the Industry POC's by June 15 for placement in the stores two weeks prior to generate excitement. Any donations, gift cards, raffle items, etc. can be mailed to the attention of the base GM. Please put Operation Give Back on the mailing so they know exactly what it is for.

This is a very high profile event with our customer and going to a very good cause. Need to be sure Industry is supporting this event at these 10 bases. All companies supporting will be credited in Industry publications.

Please let Marcia Doyle know what support you or your manufacturers are offering (i.e. gift cards, tastings, donations) at so she can make sure no one gets left out.More

exchange council

ALA Exchange E-Blast week 6/8/12

ALA Executive Briefing June 1, 2012

Click here to Find a Store

AAFES Sales Flyers — to view click below: NEXCOM sales 2011 store/location

Exchange Resource Guide (Market Research)

Chapter Announcement:

June 25: ALA New York Chapter Golf Event
Click here for registration form and directions.

Save the dates:

June 19, 2012 — Congressional Caucus, House Office Building Washington, D.C.
Sponsorship for the June 19 Caucus still open! Contact:

August 21–23, 2012 — Hawaii Conference & Food Show, Hawaii Prince Hotel, Honolulu

Oct. 1-3, 2012 — 65th Annual Convention, OMNI Shoreham Hotel, Washington, D.C.

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


Navy FFR
U.S. Navy
Navy Child and Youth Programs is now accepting applications for its 2012 Navy Teen Summer Camp Scholarship Program. CNIC will fund all-expenses paid summer camp opportunities for Navy teens worldwide. Funding will support airline and ground transportation, camp registration, meals and miscellaneous camp insurance. Please encourage all eligible teens to apply for these camps. To apply for the 2012 Navy Teen Summer Camp Scholarship Program, each teen must complete an individual application by no later than June 15. Download the application from, and email it to Teens are required to write two short narratives about the adventures they want to experience and rank their selections. Notification of selections will be made no later than June 22. For more information, email or call 901-874-6897.More

Military spouses thanked with sweet reception
U.S. Army
A poster on a stand thanked military spouses for their ongoing support. A ceremonial cake on a small table was ready for cutting, but one important ingredient was missing. "Are you a military spouse?" Army Community Service director Sue Paddock asked a woman shopper. She wasn't but a military spouse arrived shortly and agreed to cut the cake for a photo opportunity.More