ALA Executive Briefing
Jul. 3, 2015

The new chiefs in town
War On The Rocks
Between now and the end of September, five of the seven four-star service and joint chiefs will step down from their positions and be replaced by new leaders. The chiefs of the Army, Navy and Marine Corps will exit in September along with both the chairman and vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. By the same time next year, the chiefs of the Air Force and National Guard Bureau will depart as well, and the nation's entire four-star military leadership in Washington, D.C., will be made up of entirely new faces. The demands facing this new team will be markedly different from those that faced the past four sets of chiefs, dating back to 2001. By necessity, the first three sets of those chiefs focused on fighting large, long and complex land wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More

Lt. Gen. Robert Neller tapped as next commandant of the Marine Corps
Marine Corps Times
Lt. Gen. Robert Neller is the Obama administration's choice to succeed Gen. Joseph Dunford as 37th commandant of the Marine Corps, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced.More

Pentagon increases small business contracts to disabled veterans
The Defense Department finally met its goal last year for awarding contracts to small businesses run by disabled veterans, improving on what was admittedly an "atrocious" record. More

Top cities for veterans in 2015
Once military service ends, veterans begin their transition to civilian life. It can be a challenge to find a new place to live and work, and an area that includes support services and health care options for veterans. NerdWallet crunched the numbers, including data to highlight economic opportunity, to find the nation's top 10 cities for veterans.More

Get ready! Heads up on major AFSA 5-day NDAA campaign
Air Force Sergeants Association
Because events are moving so fast on the FY 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress most likely will begin their conference debate and decisions on resolving the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill soon. AFSA urges our membership's quick response and dedicated participation in a campaign taking place each day the week of July 6 with a different prewritten letter you can easily send to your elected officials on a unique subject each day — to include protecting the commissaryMore

Senate votes to end hide-the-food-stamps-game stateside
Special to Stars and Stripes (tiered subscription model)
The Senate has voted to end a special food allowance stateside that was conceived 14 years ago primarily to avoid more news reports of military families using food stamps. The idea behind the Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance was to offer junior enlisted with large families an alternative to food stamps, in fact to make them financially ineligible for such assistance. For financially distressed military families, food stamps or SNAP is much preferred over the FSSA, as the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission explained in its final report. More

VA to extend benefits to same-sex spouses
The Hill
Same-sex married couples will now share veterans' pensions, home loans and other benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs said recently. The new policy comes after the recent Supreme Court ruling that same-sex couples have the right to marry in all states. "We are thrilled the VA is acting so quickly to implement the Supreme Court's ruling and are ready to do right by ALL our nation's veterans," American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack said in a statement. "These are important benefits our nation's veterans have earned." More

700 students in military families earn scholarship awards
U.S. Department of Defense
Seven hundred students of military families will each receive a $2,000 scholarship this year, thanks to the 2015 Scholarships for Military Children program. The scholarship, created in 2001, recognizes the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and celebrates the commissary's role in enhancing military quality of life. DeCA's industry partners — vendors, manufacturers, brokers and suppliers — and the general public donate money to fund the program. More

White House, USO set to host military families for annual Fourth of July celebration
In celebration of troops and their families stationed around the globe, the USO and President Barack Obama will once again honor, salute and celebrate those in uniform with the Fifth Annual "Salute to the Military" USO Concert Event on the South Lawn of the White House this Independence Day. "Saying 'thank you' to our service men and women and their families is what the USO is all about," said USO President Sloan Gibson. "It is what we do at our centers all over the world every day and is an integral part of our mission."More

Survey: Shoplifting lower at supermarkets than all retail
Supermaket News
Inventory shrink due to shoplifting and employee theft was lower in 2014 at supermarkets than for the retail industry in general, according to a national retail security survey conducted by the National Retail Federation and the University of Florida. More

Kraft Heinz details its new senior leadership team
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A new management team heavy on executives from the Pittsburgh's H.J. Heinz Co. will take over leadership of the new Kraft Heinz Co. Two days before Kraft Foods Group shareholders are scheduled to vote on the planned merger that will create the third largest food and beverage company in North America, the new senior leadership slate of Kraft Heinz was detailed with roles for 20 executives, including Heinz CEO Bernardo Hees.More

Analyst: Kroger's 'ClickList' improving e-commerce efficiency
Supermarket News
Kroger's new click-and-collect offering, now going by the name of ClickList, is "off to a flying start" at pilot stores in Cincinnati, according to an analyst. More

Grocers can use 'Internet of Things' to their advantage
Progressive Grocer
For those who've wondered what the Internet of Things is, let alone how they can leverage it to benefit their business, the June 9 FMI Connect Learning Lounge presentation "The Internet of Things," held on the exhibit floor, was a must-attend event. More

Holographic ads will soon be the norm in supermarkets
Ecumenical News
Holograms are the next big thing. First, Microsoft showed off its Hololens in the recently concluded E3, and now supermarkets are using holograms to advertise products. More

Green advice on canned foods belongs in the trash
Go to the supermarket and you may notice canned food bearing the label "BPA-free." It doesn't mean those products are any better than others — although they may be more expensive. Environmental activists spawned the nonsensical demand for Bisphenol A-free packaging by focusing on spin rather than science. The latest example is the Environmental Working Group's report, "BPA in Canned Food: Behind the Brand Curtain," which advises consumers to buy canned food labeled "BPA-free."More

Whole Foods and the old thumb on the scale
Bloomberg View
The Whole Foods chain's marketing celebrates a more wholesome past. Heirloom tomatoes, GMO-free products and organic fruits, vegetables and meats recall an earlier, more innocent time when family farms, not modern agribusiness, put food on the American table.More

Wal-Mart's massive plan should terrify Whole Foods, Kroger, Trader Joe's
Business Insider
Wal-Mart is gearing up to dominate the grocery business. The retailer's smaller-format stores, called Neighborhood Markets, are a major threat to traditional supermarkets, like Whole Foods, Kroger and Trader Joe's, and they are expanding rapidly, according to Moody's analysts. More

Wal-Mart to impose charges on suppliers as its costs mount
Wal-Mart Stores will begin charging fees to almost all vendors for stocking their items in new stores and for warehousing inventory, raising pressure on suppliers as the world's largest retailer battles higher costs from wage hikes.More

Target's chief merchant steps down in CEO's latest shake-up
Bloomberg Business
Target Corp. Chief Merchandising Officer Kathee Tesija, who oversaw the selection of products sold at the chain, will step down in the latest shake-up under Chief Executive Officer Brian Cornell.More

Shoplifting, worker theft cost retailers $32 billion last year
A shoplifter swiping a book at Barnes & Noble or a Dollar General cashier stealing a pack of smokes might not be committing the crime of the century, but such transgressions across hundreds of thousands of stores in the U.S. add up to a $32 billion problem.More

Real M&A: Skechers so hot that it may be worth a look for Nike
Bloomberg Business
In case you missed it, Skechers U.S.A. Inc. is on fire. Shares of the sneaker maker have doubled in just six months, giving it an almost $6 billion market value. Its revenue gains — led by women's sporty, slip-on shoes — have been beating every competitor. More

Overtime proposal would cost the workers it's meant to help
Bradenton Herald
Critics claim retail is an industry of low-wage, part-time jobs. That's not true, of course, and recent research from GfK and Oxford Economics provides the facts to prove that retail offers competitive wages and vast opportunities for career advancement, that the majority of retail workers are happy and that those who have moved on say their retail experience helped get them their jobs.More

Interest in Apple Watch has outpaced the original iPhone
The Apple Watch is a new product category and market space that Apple has entered into and according to a research note from Morgan Stanley that was obtained by Business Insider, it seems that interest in Apple's wearable is gaining a lot of traction.More

How a tobacco-free CVS plans to make up $2 billion in lost revenue
Bizwomen - The Business Journals
It was a bold move for CVS Health to phase out tobacco products at its 7,800 stores — and it came at a price: about $2 billion in lost annual revenue. Company leaders said that selling cigarettes was incompatible with CVS' goal of becoming a bigger player in the growing health care industry. And to be sure, losing $2 billion won't be a death blow to the $120 billion company, the country's biggest provider of prescription drugs, Bloomberg Businessweek reported.More

Bloomingdale's, Container Store, Gap: Service still makes the difference
Why do some brands disappear while others maintain their customer acceptance? Once high flyers, Benetton, Levi, Aeropostale and Abercrombie & Fitch have all given way to newcomers, such as H&M, Zara and Urban Outfitters.More

More General Mills cereals to get makeovers
General Mills said it has committed to removing artificial flavors and colors from artificial sources from its cereals in response to consumers' changing preferences. Currently, more than 60 percent of General Mills cereals, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Original Cheerios, follow this formula.More

Plunge in oil prices set the stage for record margins as in-store sales soar
With a surprise second-half freefall of oil prices ending in $2-a-gallon gasoline and industry pretax profits 46.5 percent higher in 2014 than the year before, retailer Billy Milam could only declare: "October 2014 was our best year ever."More

Nielsen: Cigarette sales soften in May
Though 2015 has been a great year so far for cigarette sales, the latest Nielsen data shows volumes have softened slightly as we enter the summer months. Combined C-store and XAOC channel volumes declined 1.4 percent in the four weeks ending June 13 down from the 0.4 percent average of the past three periods. More

Hershey named No. 2 most powerful corporate brand
The Hershey Co. was recognized for its best-in-class corporate brand equity in Tenet's CoreBrand Index of the Top 100 Brands in the United States. Hershey was ranked No. 2 in the index for the second consecutive year.More

FARE: Vendor relationships vs. partnerships
A strong relationship with your supplier can be a good thing; a true partnership, however, is invaluable. That's the conclusion food service retailers reached during an educational forum titled "Operators Share How to Sell Me" on the first day of the 2015 FARE Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. More

Slideshow: Wal-Mart again tops Fortune 500 list
Though Wal-Mart Corp. topped the Fortune 500 rankings again this year, consumer packaged goods companies, such as ConAgra Foods, Hormel Foods, Tyson Foods and U.S. Foods, showed some mettle in climbing the coveted ladder.More

Northern Mariana Islands: MVA invites military families at travel fairs
Marianas Variety
The Marianas Visitors Authority recently conducted promotions in Guam, targeting both military personnel and their families and the general public. The 11th Annual Joint Military Travel Fairs were conducted and organized by the Morale Welfare and Recreation unit on each base. The first travel fair was conducted on June 10 at the Coral Reef Fitness Center Gymnasium on Andersen Air Force Base, with an estimated 550 attendees. The second fair was held on June 11 at the Charles King Fitness Center.More

NEXCOM gives $46.6 million to MWR

The Navy Exchange Service Command released its fiscal year 2014 audited financial report which showed a $46.6 million contribution to Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation.

"NEXCOM's mission is to provide our customers with quality goods and services at a savings and to support Navy quality of life programs," said Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, (Ret), Chief Executive Officer, NEXCOM. "Each year, we contribute 70 percent of our profits to MWR to accomplish that mission. For 2014, we gave Navy MWR $46.6 million from our sales. Shopping at the NEX not only saves our customers money, it also contributes to their quality of life."

Navy MWR uses the dividends from the NEX in a variety of ways. Installations receive part of the funds for specific installation level MWR efforts. The remaining funds are used for MWR capital projects to improve facilities.

"Our MWR effort relies on the dividend we get from NEXCOM to continue to offer a quality recreation experience for Sailors and their families. These funds are very important in helping us to upgrade facilities and equipment, as well as support the diverse recreation needs of the military community that we serve," said Lorraine Seidel, Recreation Program Manager for Navy Installations Command.

NEXCOM operates on the retail fiscal year calendar, which in 2014 was February 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015.More