ALA Executive Briefing
Jun. 12, 2015

How we're planning the biggest personnel overhaul in 45 years
Defense One
Through the current Force of the Future initiative, many leaders throughout the Defense Department are heeding Secretary Ash Carter's call for innovative thinking about our nation's most enduring competitive advantage: our people. More

Sources: Fanning leading Army secretary candidate
Defense News
Eric Fanning, currently chief of staff to U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, is the leading candidate to replace John McHugh as the next Army secretary, sources said. More

Mccain responds to White House veto threat of National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2016
Before It's News
U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following response to the Statement of Administration Policy regarding S. 1376, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, released June 2.More

Coalition urges Senate Appropriations Committee support for Senator Mikulski amendment restoring full commissary funding
Save Our Benefit
The Save Our Benefit coalition and nearly 40 organizations — representing tens of millions of active duty, Guard and Reserve, retirees, military families, Veterans and survivors — strongly supports and urges your support of Senator Mikulski's amendment to the FY2016 Defense Appropriations Bill. Sen. Mikulski's amendment restores $322 million in commissary funding. The Senate Armed Service Committee's version of the Defense Bill, S. 1376, sets in motion price increases and reduced operating hours and would severely damage a benefit relied upon by millions of military service members and their families, and would impact those who need it most–junior enlisted families, fixed income retirees and surviving families. Military families rely on this benefit to stretch their household budgets and provide healthy food for the well being of their families. These cuts also occur without the benefit of a report requested by the Committee in the FY15 National Defense Authorization Act that has yet to be provided to Congress.More

Coalition urges support for Senator Mikulski amendment restoring cuts from commissary program
Save Our Benefit
The Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits represents millions of active duty service members, National Guard and Reserve, retirees, veterans, military families, survivors and persons with disabilities. We strongly support your amendment to S. 1376, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016, that restores the cuts from the commissary program. We greatly appreciate your continued efforts to protect these critical earned benefits, which are the benchmark for our nation's commitment to our service members and their families who sacrifice the most for our freedom.More

NMVA urges support for amendment to restore cuts to commissary program
National Military and Veterans Alliance
Chairman Cochran, Ranking Member Mikulski and Members, Committee on Appropriations: The National Military and Veterans Alliance, a nonpartisan policy and advocacy organization composed of military and veteran service organizations, urges your support for Sen. Barbara Mikulski's amendment to the fiscal 2016 Defense Appropriations Bill that restores substantial budget cuts to the commissary program. Commissary and exchanges are a vital part of military pay and compensation. The military community greatly value and use these earned benefits.More

Military Families urge Senators to protect commissary funding
National Military Family Association
One of our highest priorities is protecting military families' earned benefits, including the savings achieved by shopping at the commissary. For this reason, we support amending the Defense Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2016 to restore $322 million in funding to the commissary. We ask for the Appropriations Committee's support of this important legislation. Military families consistently tell us how much they value the commissary benefit and the savings they receive by shopping there. In fact, the commissary benefit and the savings it provides are essential elements of military compensation.More

Shelf Stocking, Receiving/Storage/Holding Area (RSHA), and Custodial Operations
Solicitation Number: HDEC08-15-R-0024. Agency: Other Defense Agencies. Office: Defense Commissary Agency. Location: Contracting Bus Unit/Commercial Activities (HDEC08). More

Wal-Mart offers a peak at robot grocery pickers and other innovations
The City Wire
If there is a measure for how focused Wal-Mart is on using technology to dig deeper into the pockets of consumers, this may be it. Twenty-five hundred Wal-Mart employees at "labs" in California and Bentonville tests hundreds of innovations at any given time around the globe. Many of those tests are geared toward improving the shopping experience for millennials and other demographic disruptors. More

Managing the risks and rewards for store upgrades
Supermarket News
From introducing growler stations and beer cafes to offering gourmet cooking classes, grocers are ramping up their efforts to turn stores into local destination spots. Some grocers have organized social activities, such as wine tastings, to attract new customers, further engage existing ones and enhance their image. Others, have introduced "groceraunts" — in-store eateries and gourmet delis — in direct competition with restaurants. Taking on these types of resource intensive projects is both a source of great opportunity and great risk for grocers. If managed correctly, they can drive significant customer loyalty, revenue and profit growth. More

Whole Foods is copying Wal-Mart's strategy
Business Insider
Whole Foods is adopting a strategy similar to Wal-Mart's — offering healthcare and other services and focusing on low prices. The retailer just opened a 45,000-square-foot store near Dayton, Ohio, which includes a personal trainer on staff. Offering an array of services beyond groceries could help differentiate Whole Foods from competitors, like Trader Joe's, and make its stores a destination. More

Self-checkout is still controversial
Progressive Grocer
Fifteen years after grocers first installed self-checkout machines in their stores, this wonderful innovation remains somewhat controversial. Most retailers love these units, but some shoppers have issues with them because of frustration with technology issues and lack of human interaction. More

Grocery industry tries not to freak out as Amazon plans its own food line
Amazon has long been a "frenemy" to the businesses that sell goods on its site. Soon, grocery food brands are going to get their own taste of why an Amazon relationship can be so complicated. The company plans to introduce its own line of grocery items, including milk, cereal and baby food under the Amazon Elements label that it launched last year.More

A secretive trade group is regulating what's in your food
The Huffington Post
Ingredients created by food companies flavor what Americans eat each day — everything from juice drinks and potato chips to ice cream and canned soups. They give Cheetos their addictive cheesy taste and help distinguish Jolly Ranchers from other fruit-flavored candies.More

Tests of canned food brands reveal most have controversial chemical in can lining
Food Safety News
Bisphenol-A, or BPA, a chemical component found in plastic bottles and canned food liners, has long courted controversy over its alleged health risks. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has maintained that it is safe at current levels, environmental groups and others contend that the synthetic compound may cause health complications in humans. More

Food retailers testify on behalf of 'common sense' menu labeling
Progressive Grocer
If the Food and Drug Administration's new rules regulating menu boards are allowed to take effect, many supermarkets' nutrition initiatives could be voided. That's according to at least one grocery retailer who testified recently on behalf of the Food Marketing Institute and National Grocers Association to express the supermarket industry's support for the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015, legislation addressing fundamental compliance challenges with the FDA's final rule that includes grocery stores in a regulation developed for chain restaurants. More

Mondelez launches Shopper Futures program
Progressive Grocer
Mondelez International is launching what it calls a breakthrough mobile marketing initiative, Shopper Futures, which brings together entrepreneurs and retailers to help transform the consumer retail experience. The program will pair Mondelez International's brands with entrepreneurs from the United States and Canada who are developing the technology and mobile solutions to solve pressing retail challenges. More

DNA testing has food fraud running scared
The U.S. Grocery Manufacturers Association estimates that food fraud costs the global food industry between $10 and $15 billion annually, affecting 10 percent of all commercially sold food products. Food fraud is the act of defrauding food buyers for economic gain, like substituting Pacific salmon for Atlantic salmon, or diluting ingredients, like adding other oils not labelled to olive oil. Recently, the New York Attorney General sent cease and desist letters to major retailers for selling fraudulent herbal supplements based on DNA testing, demanding they remove the products from their shelves.More

One of the Exchange's most important missions: Military, family, careers
AAFES Public Affairs
According to a recent Defense Manpower Data Center survey, military spouses who moved in the past 12 months have an unemployment rate of 20 percent, twice as high as those who haven’t moved. Things are more challenging for transient military spouses with children, who suffer an unemployment rate of 30 percent. More

Traditional retailers catch up to online-only names
The tide is starting to turn for bricks-and-mortar retailers. Long the digital laggard to online-only shops, traditional stores are beginning to capitalize on their robust physical footprints — namely, by using them as souped-up distribution networks — as they continue to make their Web and mobile operations easier for shoppers to use. More

Survey: Retailers fail to offer what shoppers want
Chicago Tribune
Despite retailers' efforts in recent years to give shoppers a "seamless" experience whether they're shopping in store, online or on their mobile phones, a gap remains between what customers expect and what retailers are offering, according to a new report from Accenture.More

New retail formats target the nation's next biggest buying group
Step aside, baby boomers. The millennials are taking your place. The demographic born between 1980 and 2000, also dubbed Generation Y, will become the biggest consumer buying group by 2020, accounting for $1.4 trillion in spending, according to Accenture data.More

Increasing the relevance of the retail store environment
Chain Store Age
Showrooming has plagued brick-and-mortar retailers for years, with e-commerce quickly chipping away at in-store sales. Recently however, experts report the rising trend is actually the reverse — shoppers are now exploring options online before buying in-store. More

J.C. Penney, Kohl's go for personalization
Advertising Age
After reporting less-than-stellar earnings recently, retailers, including J.C. Penney and Kohl's, are looking to save money by crafting more personalized marketing strategies, swapping out traditional media buys for digital campaigns they hope will prove more efficient.More

Macy's testing new at-home tailoring service from Men's Wearhouse founder
The department store chain is piloting a new on-demand tailoring service run by Men's Wearhouse founder George Zimmer as it looks to bolster e-commerce sales.More

Dollar Tree to sell 330 Family Dollar Stores to Sycamore Partners
Chain Store Age
Dollar Tree announced it had reached an agreement to sell private equity firm Sycamore Partners a divestiture package of 330 Family Dollar Stores locations, with the deal contingent on the completion of Dollar Tree's pending acquisition of Family Dollar. More

10 most popular stores in America
24/7 Wall St.
Wal-Mart is the most popular store in America. More than half of all shoppers in the country visited a Wal-Mart location in March. No other U.S. store could claim a majority of Americans as customers that month. More

Report: Amazon to offer private label grocery products
Chain Store Age reportedly plans to launch a line of private label grocery products. According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon will add items, such as milk, cereal, baby food and household cleaners, to its Elements private label brand.More

Burger chain aims to expand brand in Wal-Mart stores
Memphis Business Journal
Back Yard Burgers recently announced it would sell its patties in 500 Wal-Mart stores across the Southeast. Now, it's a numbers waiting game to see if it was successful.More

Reynolds-Lorillard wins FTC approval with 3-2 vote
Reynolds American Inc. and Lorillard Inc. announced that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission has accepted, 3-2 vote, a proposed consent agreement authorizing Reynolds American to close its proposed acquisition of Lorillard.More

Joe Sheetz talks about Sheetz U Place
Take a look inside Sheetz's first C-store without fuel sales.More

What consumers want C-stores to know about their candy, snack preferences
"The consumer is more in charge than ever before," said Larry Levin during the opening keynote of the 2015 Sweets & Snacks Expo. "They are starting the dialogues, not brands."More

7-Eleven, Tedeschi a natural fit
It's a deal that makes sense. 7-Eleven Inc. entered into a deal to acquire Tedeschi Food Shops, the 92-year-old, family-run traditional convenience-store chain with fuel at only 15 of its 182 locations.More

Healthy Base Initiative set to end soon
Fort Meade SoundOff
Members of the Fort Meade, Maryland, community who shop at the installation's farmers market can buy fresh produce, meats, baked goods and plants at reasonable prices. The Fort Meade Farmers Market is one of about 20 projects that have been part of the installation's participation in the DoD's Healthy Base Initiative, a yearlong demonstration project that Fort Meade joined in September 2013.More

New program prepares Airmen, families to bounce back after deployments
Press Release Point
Air Force services recently added a new tool to encourage service members and their families who are affected by deployments to participate in morale, welfare and recreation programs and activities. The "Recharge for Resiliency" initiative was designed to help Airmen readjust to life at home and also include families in their reintegration.More