ALA Executive Briefing
Jun. 21, 2013

Looking out for military families
Government Executive
The Defense Department could be doing more to protect members of the military. The issue is not stronger tanks or better armor, but an entirely different type of security. The Pentagon is seeking to protect members of the armed forces from predatory loans.More

Main characteristics of the 2014 defense policy bills
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
The 2014 defense policy bills are making their way through the House and Senate, and have quite a few important characteristics to watch out for. The following is a look at the difference between what the Senate passed this past Thursday, and what the House approved on Friday.More

Senate Committee approves $625 billion defense measure
The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee approved a $625 billion defense authorization measure for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, matching the amount requested by President Barack Obama's administration. The panel recently approved the measure, 23-3, sending it to the Senate floor. More

House approves measure to share one camouflage pattern
The Washington Post
The U.S. House recently approved a measure that would require all branches of the military to share the same camouflage uniforms — instead of the 10 different camouflage patterns in use today.More

Architectural/refrigeration upgrade commissary, JBSA Lackland, Texas
Federal Business Opportunities
The Defense Commissary Agency, Acquisition Management Directorate Construction Design Branch (HQ DeCA/LEAAF), anticipates awarding a firm fixed price construction contract to Architectural & Refrigeration Upgrade to the commissary facility at JBSA Lackland, Texas.More

Landscaping and lawn maintenance
Federal Business Opportunities
The Defense Commissary Agency intends to request quotations for Landscaping and Lawn Maintenance at Defense Commissary Agency Headquarters located at 1300 E. Ave, Fort Lee, VA 23801. The work will be performed on an on-call basis and will include lawn maintenance, weed control, crabgrass preventer/pre-emergent control, fertilizing and mulching.More

Reach-in freezers and refrigerators
Federal Business Opportunities
This solicitation is being issued as unrestricted. The solicitation is for self-contained 2 and 3-door reach-in freezers and self-contained 2 and 3-door reach-in refrigerators to be delivered to Defense Commissary Agency commissaries in the Continental United States and overseas locations. However, for overseas locations, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska, the contractor would only be responsible for preparation for overseas shipment and delivery to the port. More

37 overseas commissaries to remain open during furloughs
Thirty-seven military commissaries in Europe and the Pacific will remain open with local national employees while U.S. civilian employees are affected by furloughs, the Defense Commissary Agency's top official recently said. Most Defense Department civilian employees will be off work for up to 11 unpaid furlough days from July 8 to Sept. 30 as the Pentagon copes with deep spending cuts for the rest of the fiscal year. DeCA civilians will be furloughed on Mondays.More

Food stamps: Military families redeem $100 million a year in SNAP benefits
The Huffinton Post
While the House of Representatives considers cutting more than $20 billion from the food stamps program, it may want to consider a startling statistic: Military families are on a pace this year to redeem more than $100 million in food aid on military bases. Nearly $53 million in food stamps had been cashed in by people eligible to shop in base commissaries, including disabled veterans and others with military ID that entitles entrance to the facilities, through the first half of this fiscal year — from October through March, according to data provided to The Huffington Post by the Defense Commissary Agency.More

Commissary shopping
Capital Gazette
Of the 247 military grocery stores run by the Defense Commissary Agency worldwide, the Fort Meade store in Maryland is one of the 10 busiest. The 55,000-square-foot store is one of two in Anne Arundel County. Together with the smaller Annapolis Commissary across the Severn River from the Naval Academy, it gets nearly 100,000 customer visits every month. More

Teach children about nutrition in the grocery store
U.S. News & World Report
The produce aisle is filled with endless possibilities. From round, red tomatoes to spiky, yellow pineapples — it's the perfect arena to inspire your children to cook or spark their creativity. It's also a great place to teach them a few tips for healthy eating, which is extremely important to do while they're still young. In fact, studies show that early experiences with a diverse selection of foods play an important role in future food attitudes. More

Amazon, Wal-Mart unveil online grocery shopping program
Amazon is getting into the grocery business. The online retailer is reportedly planning a major roll-out of a grocery delivery business it's been developing for years. Americans spend $565 billion a year on groceries. After all, everybody eats, every day, more than once. Now Amazon and Wal-Mart are escalating the national food fight.More

Survey: 13 percent bought groceries online
Supermarket News
In a survey of 22,000 grocery customers, 13 percent said they had bought some grocery products online in the last 30 days. "That surprised me," said Bill Bishop, chief architect of Brick Meets Click, which conducted the survey. "That tells you that while sales are still small, there's significant customer interest in online grocery shopping." More

Low-calorie products driving sales growth
Progressive Grocer
Lower-calorie foods and beverages dramatically boosted revenue at 16 food and beverage companies that account for nearly $100 billion in annual sales. Lower-calorie products are driving a disproportionate share of the sales growth for many of the U.S.'s largest food and beverage companies, according to the study, Lower-Calorie Foods and Beverages Drive Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Companies' Sales Growth, by Hudson Institute.More

New rules of consumer engagement for retailers, CPGs
Progressive Grocer
Retailers and consumer packaged goods companies are dealing with new rules of consumer engagement as they seize opportunities from advanced technology and the digitally connected consumer.More

Request for military base closing rejected
The Associated Press via Yahoo News
Recently, legislation that rejected the Defense Department's request to shutter installations and facilities that are no longer needed was approved by the Senate Armed Services readiness subcommittee.More

Defense civilians make last ditch effort to end furloughs
Government Executive
Beleaguered federal employees have taken to the White House's petition website to challenge the Pentagon's decision to furlough most of its civilian workforce for 11 days in fiscal 2013.More

Pentagon should help safeguard working conditions in Bangladesh
The Washington Times
Two House Democrats have filed a measure that would require garments made in Bangladesh and sold at American military bases to come from factories that meet certain fire and building codes. Reps. George Miller, of California, and Jan Schakowsky, of Illinois, filed the amendment to the House's defense spending bill after a series of high-profile tragedies shed light on poor working conditions in the South Asian nation. More

Reports: Target to expand organic product selection
Drug Store News
Target is offering new natural and organic food products as part of its Simply Balanced private label, according to published reports.More

Wal-Mart renews buyback effort
The Wall Street Journal
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said at a recent shareholder meeting that it plans to repurchase $15 billion in shares, as the retailer's rapid global growth propels it toward a half-trillion dollars in annual revenue.More

Costco is totally eliminating self-checkout in stores
Business Insider
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek is eliminating self-service checkout from stores because he says his employees do a better job. "They are great for low-volume warehouses, but we don't want to be in the low-volume warehouse business," said Jelinek. More

No tie-ins. No touch screens. No apps.
The New York Times
It was a Sunday night, after dinner, at the informal in-home testing lab of Melissa and Doug Bernstein, better known as Melissa & Doug, the toy company and the signature that adorns all their products. This August, their company will turn 25, celebrating a quarter-century of anachronism. In a time when major corporations dominate the industry, making toys with all manner of batteries, digital gimmicks or movie tie-ins, the Bernsteins keep making money in wooden puzzles, coloring pads, blocks, trains and simple costumes (the police officer, the princess, the pirate). They hatch many of their ideas by watching children at play — often among their own brood of six. More

Who is responsible for overseas working conditions?
Corporate Counsel
Two attorneys — one representing the National Retail Federation and the other the AFL-CIO — not surprisingly took different stands recently on the responsibility of U.S. corporations for overseas working conditions in the aftermath of the Bangladesh garment factory collapse in April that killed 1,100 workers and injured another 1,500. Labor problems in Bangladesh are complex, and "There is no simple 'one-size-fits-all' solution that will resolve the current systemic issues," said attorney Johan Lubbe in testimony before a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on labor issues in that country. More

Webinar creating a responsible supply chain for mineral sourcing
National Retail Federation
Today's consumer is increasingly educated about the products they are purchasing in retail stores. This includes information about how and where their products come from. Consumers want and expect retailers to address responsible sourcing issues. While a great deal has been done through the Kimberley Process to address conflict diamonds, the industry and consumers realize that more needs to be done. Congress has now mandated additional requirements regarding gold, tin, tungsten and tantalum on publicly traded U.S. companies to disclose to the Securities and Exchange Commission whether their products are "conflict mineral free."More

Restaurant chains try to woo a younger generation
The New York Times
From sun-dried tomato wraps to agave-sweetened smoothies, restaurant chains are working to court an exceptionally particular generation — the millennials. For reasons as varied as the economic downturn and a heightened interest in local foods, a significant shift in eating patterns is under way among the millennials, those 18 to 30.More

Brooks Brothers brings in-store experience online
Chain Store Age
Brooks Brothers is connecting data to the customer experience in order to replicate the highly personalized shopping environment of its stores on its e-commerce site. "We are connectors," Cindy L. Lincks, director of analytics for Brooks Brothers, told the audience during a session at last week's Internet Retailer conference in Chicago. "Our job is to connect data to the customer experience with a software package."More

Fulfilling expectations: Best practices for omni-channel retailing
Chain Store Age
Although the trend toward increased online purchasing in recent years has been universally acknowledged, the steady migration of shoppers online has occurred in even greater numbers than most probably realize. Computer-based e-commerce spending has grown by double digits year over year nearly every quarter since 2007, with the exception of the worst quarters of the recession.More

Bloomberg: Retail sales edge up 0.4 percent in May
Chain Store Age
Initial Bloomberg estimates indicate U.S. retail sales edged up 0.4 percent last month, with growth in the job market spurring increased consumer willingness to spend money. The projected increase is the largest in three months and follows smaller increases of 0.1 percent in April.More

OfficeMax shareholders to vote on proposed merger July 10
Chain Store Age
OfficeMax shareholders will vote on a proposed merger with Office Depot on July 10, in a special meeting to be in Naperville, Ill. Shareholders of record as of May 28, are eligible to participate.More

Retailers remain cautious on merchandise imports
Chain Store Age
Import volume at the nation's major retail container ports is expected to increase 1.1 percent in June over the same month last year, reflecting modest growth expectations as retailers head toward the back-to-school and holiday seasons, according to the monthly Global Port Tracker report released by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.


Consumers buck headwinds, binge on big-ticket goods
The Wall Street Journal
U.S. consumers demonstrated a renewed willingness to open their wallets for retailers in May, easing worries about a slowing economy heading into the summer. Overall retail sales increased 0.6 percent last month, putting them 4.3 percent higher over the past year, the Commerce Department recently said. The strong gain after two sluggish months returned consumer spending to a pace that has helped power much of the four-year-old recovery.More

J.C. Penney launches apparel design center in New York
Women's Wear Daily
Last December, it looked bleak for Ken Mangone and the private brand business at J.C. Penney Co. Inc. he was instrumental in bolstering. (Subscription required.)More

On-the-go shoppers fuel convenience store growth
Not long ago, industry execs fretted that consumer frugality would put a damper on convenience-store growth, but a new report from IRI shows the channel is thriving. Compared to grocery and drug stores, it says convenience stores were the only channel to grow in both dollar and unit sales in 2012. Led by such giants as 7-Eleven, Shell, and BP, IRI says there are now some 149,000 convenience stores, with roughly two-thirds owned by independents. Increasingly, these stores are stepping away from their cookie-cutter roots, adding kiosks, healthier food options, fresh foods and payment innovations.More

How online-only retailers can sell in the physical world
We often discuss how brick-and-mortar stores must become omnichannel, creating online and mobile presences to keep up with channel-agnostic consumers. But what about online-only retailers? They too would benefit from an omnichannel presence in the physical world. More

Retail sales up nearly 5 percent from last year
National Retail Federation
Improved consumer confidence and spending helped drive retail sales in May. According to the National Retail Federation, the world's largest retail trade association, May retail sales (excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants) increased 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from April and increased a strong 4.8 percent unadjusted year-over-year. More

Mobile marketing will generate $400 billion in sales by 2015
Small Business Trends
If you sell directly to U.S. customers or provide marketing services to clients who do, pay attention. A recent report says a growing mobile market is already generating billions in U.S. sales. And businesses are also spending billions to market to customers via mobile channels.More

Taco Bell, Starbucks appeal to diet conscious eaters
USA Today
Even at the fast-food joint, nutrition matters. Two of fast-food's biggest names — Starbucks and Taco Bell — on June 28 separately announced nutritional moves aimed at luring consumers concerned about calories.More

College students present opportunity for foodservice growth
Convenience Store News
Foodservice purveyors looking to expand their businesses should focus on college students, according to Technomic Inc.'s new College & University Consumer Trend Report. The research firm found that 54 percent of college students use on-campus foodservice at least twice a week, and 22 percent visit these establishments twice daily. In addition, 35 percent of students make at least two off-campus visits per week.More

Current challenges in organized retail crime
National Retail Federation
The variety of issues that retail loss prevention professionals face range from shoplifting to return fraud, but no issue has grown as significantly in the past few years as organized retail crime. This is shown in the results of NRF's ninth annual ORC survey, which found for the third consecutive year that 90 percent of retail LP executives said they have been victims of ORC gangs. What's more disturbing? Another eight in 10 agree that ORC has increased over the same span of time. More

AAFES SD-C Policy announcement (change)

Good morning all,
The following policies will be effective 13 August 2013 for all Retail Food items.

These policies are applicable to Retail Food and no other Consumable categories.

Discontinued Items from the Plan-o-Gram
All vendors will be billed at 50 percent of cost effective the publish date of the POG to cover markdowns.

One Time Buys
All vendors will be billed at 50 percent of cost of OTB's after the product has been on the sales floor for 60 days to clear all residual inventory.

Thank you for your continuing support.

David H. Arens
Divisional Merchandise Manager Retail Food
Sales Directorate
214-312-3215 More

NEXCOM's employment system saves time and trees

In 2012, the Navy Exchange Service Command began implementing a new automated employment system to replace its current paper-laden system. With the implementation of Taleo complete, NEXCOM is beginning to reap the benefits.

"During our first year using Taleo, the command received over 142,000 applications for positions throughout the organization," said Robert Clayton, senior vice president, NEXCOM. "If these 142,000 applications had been completed using paper rather than online, about one million sheets of paper would have been used."

The system offers many benefits to NEXCOM's Human Resources Department. Any action taken by a human resources associate or hiring manager is date and time stamped and recorded which provides greater accountability. "Having such a detailed a record of the hiring process ensures that the same hiring procedures are being used across the enterprise, and any stopgap in the process at a given location can be quickly identified and resolved," said Clayton.

Taleo also offers benefits to NEXCOM associates who are looking for a new job within the organization. NEXCOM associates can set up a profile which makes the process of applying for jobs easier. They can also search for jobs anywhere in the organization 24 hours a day/seven days a week, something that wasn't possible with the previous system.

For the new job applicant, Taleo allows him or her to create an online profile which is saved in the system which shortens the application experience because information doesn't need to be re-entered for each job. Jobs that are of interest to the applicant can be added and saved to a "Job Cart" to be reviewed later. In addition, the applicant can check the status of his or her application at any time via the "My Jobpage" tab. On average, NEXCOM receives over 40 applicants per job opening.

"Because the system has allowed candidates greater visibility to job openings worldwide, NEXCOM is seeing an increase in both the number of applicants and the quality of applicants," said Clayton.

Once a person is hired, Taleo also features an online system where the new associate can log on and complete the majority of the new hire paperwork prior to coming in on the first day. "By allowing the completion of this paperwork online, we've not only ensured that the same forms are being utilized enterprise-wide, but we've also improved the orientation experience of the newly hired associate," said Clayton. "His or her first day with NEXCOM now has the opportunity to be more exciting and engaging without the need complete all the paperwork."

NEXCOM employs 14,000 associates around the world through its six business lines: Navy Exchanges, Navy Lodges, ships stores, Uniform Program Management Office, Telecommunications Program Office and the Navy Clothing Textile and Research Facility. For more information on NEXCOM jobs, go to

Volunteer efforts enhance quality of life in Wiesbaden military community
It's hard to measure the tremendous contributions volunteers make to enhance a community's overall quality of life. But judging from the more than $1.6 million saved by the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden thanks to volunteers, it's easy to get an idea of the immense value they add. More

Garrison employees receive notices of 11-day furloughs
Ft. Meade Soundoff
Recently, more than 425 garrison employees received letters informing them of proposed administrative furloughs. The notice states that the proposed one-day furlough per week will begin July 8 and continue through the end of September. A minimum of 11 furlough days — down from the original 22 days — has been proposed as part of the automatic spending cuts of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The furloughs will impact nearly 680,000 employees throughout the DoD.More

Kidz Toyz Inc. and U.S. Army® to launch toy series
Kidz Toyz Inc. and the U.S. Army® have joined forces to create a series of U.S. Army® inspired role play sets to launch in 2013 at mass retailers. Starting in June, more than a dozen toy play sets featuring walkie talkies, binoculars, combat assortments, tents and sleeping bags are set to hit the shelves.More