ALA Executive Briefing
Aug. 2, 2013

Why 'Chesty' still inspires the Marines
The Wall Street Journal
The Korean War rarely gets a mention these days. Sandwiched between the epic struggle of World War II and the moral carnage of Vietnam, the conflict has suffered by comparison. It is all the more reason why the 60th anniversary of the Korean Armistice should not pass us by this week without a few moments of reflection.More

Sequester hits DOD-run schools
Sequestration means a herky-jerky start to the school year for about 84,000 kids on military bases. Although the 200 schools run by the Defense Department plan to make the start of the year as smooth as possible, students will be out of school for five days between the day classes start and Sept. 21 because of employee furloughs of teachers, principals and other school employees. More

Air Force fears irreversible damage from budget impasse
National Defense Magazine
With no clarity on next year's or any future year budget, the U.S. Air Force expects to continue to have to ground airplanes, curtail pilot training and take other cost-cutting measures that, leaders fear, could permanently weaken the force. "We never have put so many people on the ground because of a fiscal crisis," said Lt. Gen. Burton M. Field, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements.More

R-22 refrigeration and HVAC equipment replacement
Federal Business Opportunities
The project is R-22 Refrigeration and HVAC Equipment replacement for the four commissaries and one central distribution center (for a total of five locations) for Defense Commissary Agency, Okinawa, Japan. The scope of work is to Replace all R-22 refrigeration and HVAC equipment, Refrigeration Monitoring & Control System, display cases, compressors, condensing units, controls, walk-in unit coolers/freezers, refrigerant piping, air handlers, chillers, condensing units, controls, piping, ductwork, insulation and associated equipment. More

Farmers Market provides healthy food options
Belvoir Eagle
Community members purchased fresh food straight from a garden during the Farmers Market at the Fort Belvoir Commissary July 19. The event, hosted worldwide by the Defense Commissary Agency, promotes healthy eating as customers picked up tomatoes, watermelons, zucchini and other produce provided by Sunnyside Farms. More

IBM Websphere MQ software maintenance
Federal Business Opportunities
The Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization, Contracting Division, Net-Centric Services Branch, Software Section (DITCO/PL8321), 2300 East Drive, Scott AFB IL 62225-5406, intends to issue a sole source award to Manhattan Associates Inc. The Defense Commissary Agency is requesting the purchase of IBM Websphere MQ software maintenance and support. Period of Performance is Sept. 14, 2013, through Sept. 13, 2014 with two, one-year option periods.More

Memorandum: Defense Commissary Agency vendors

Subject: Scholarships for Military Children Program
The purpose of this memorandum is to provide information regarding the Scholarships for Military Children Program for school year 2014-2015. The Program is now in its 14th year. In its first 13 years, Fisher House Foundation has been honored to having been able to enrich the lives of 7,412 students by awarding scholarship grants totaling $11,316,000. These grants were possible primarily through the generosity of DeCA vendors whose donations sustain the program.More

How to optimize your store for fall sales
Progressive Grocer
As summer comes to a close, the strengthening economy offers grocers numerous sales opportunities by offering promotions on late-summer and fall merchandise. But to fully leverage these opportunities, grocers need to organize for success and develop strategies for tapping into consumers' increased spending on fall events and gatherings.More

DOE invests in energy efficiency for small buildings
Most efforts to upgrade buildings have focused on big ones so far, but now the Department of Energy is turning to small ones, too. Schools, churches, strip malls, restaurants and grocery stores will benefit.More

Supermarkets are merging again. What does that mean for your grocery bill?
The Washington Post
The grocery market has been on something of a trading bender as of late. A couple weeks ago, supermarket giant Kroger announced it was buying Harris Teeter, the high-end chain centered in the Southeast, for $2.4 billion. A couple months earlier, Cerberus Capital Management bought five smaller chains including Albertson's. Just last week, Spartan Stores bought the military commissary outfit Nash Finch, the recently bankrupted A&P put itself on the market. What's going on here? And what does the flurry of mergers and acquisitions have to do with the price of beans?More

Mastering the grocery store
One of the biggest changes a person will make to live a healthy lifestyle is the way they shop. When you've been going to the store and buying groceries for so long, you simply buy what you know. But, this is the stuff that's hurting you. So, you have to relearn how to shop and buy healthy foods — a task that is much less daunting than it seems.More

Why the crop crunch won't cut your food bill
Corn, wheat and soybean futures are all trading at 52-week lows, with corn dropping over 30 percent on the year. But that doesn't mean consumers should budget less for English muffins or movie popcorn. This year's commodity crush came after a 2012 drought put severe pressure on crops, reducing supplies and spiking prices. As weather has been more favorable this year, record crop yields have been expected, and this has pushed prices down. But some back-of-the-envelope math tells us why this won't be noticeable at the supermarket checkout.More

Compete: Navy Exchange — 'Accelerate your logistics'
Material Handling & Logistics
Members of any branch of the U.S. military will tell you they joined to serve their country. For them, such service is its own reward. That said, there are logistics professionals in the military whose job it is to offer some of the comforts of home to those who sacrifice those conveniences for multi-year stints away from home.More

Western Pennsylvania anticipates how Heinz owners will wield power
Change is afoot for H.J. Heinz Co., a global business with deep Pittsburgh roots that rests in the hands of outsiders. Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, a Nebraska native, and Brazilian firm 3G took Heinz private in February when they bought the company for $28 billion, the biggest-ever global food industry buyout.More

Doubts loom over Hagel's plan to cut staff
Defense News
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's intention to slash Pentagon and combatant command personnel is being warmly embraced on Capitol Hill, but experts say the historic difficulty in cutting the civilian workforce may doom the effort.More

Kmart to online shoppers: No credit or debit card? No problem
Fast Company
A new wave of retailers adopting pay-in-store online shopping is tailor-made for the 99 percent, but with an eye for the company's own bottom line: Don't have a credit card or debit card? No problem. Just reserve your items online and pay in-store.More

Merchants upbeat about fall prospects
Women's Wear Daily
The summer doldrums have hit the men's retail business, but merchants in town for New York Market Week are expecting sales to heat up when the temperatures drop. (Subscription required.)More

Best Buy loads mobile app with check-ins to drive loyalty
Mobile Commerce Daily
Best Buy has updated its mobile application with a new check-in feature that rewards loyalty members for shopping in-store regularly. The big box retailer has revamped its iPhone and Android app to integrate more closely with its Reward Zone loyalty program. More

L'Oreal, Walgreen's look to measure effectiveness of mobile coupons
Advertising Age
L'Oreal has teamed up with Walgreens and Duane Reade locations in Manhattan for a mobile coupon campaign aimed at solving mobile advertising's fundamental problem: Connecting mobile ads to real-world purchases.More

Today's retail CIO must serve the customer first
Retail's BIG Blog
Meeting customer demands for personalization and customization requires more than just the right technology — it requires IT leaders who are focused on customers. Ahead of the NRFtech Technology Leadership Summit, the National Retail Federation spoke with Diane Neaven, senior director of retail product marketing at Epicor, to learn more about the changing role of technology in shaping and serving customer-centric retail operations.More

IBM: Online consumer spending jumps 15 percent in Q2
Chain Store Age
Online consumer spending rose a healthy 15 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to the second quarter of last year. The IBM Online Retail Sales Index shows that mobile sales reached 19.4 percent of total online sales, up 28 percent from last year. Online shopping growth substantially outpaced the 4.6 percent year-over-year increase of in-store sales during the second quarter.More

Consumer confidence hits 6-year high
Chain Store Age
Consumer confidence in July rose to the highest level in six years as Americans' views of their finances and the economy improved, according to the the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment.More

Office Depot board claims progress in OfficeMax merger
Chain Store Age
In a letter to shareholders, the board of directors of Office Depot Inc. said it has made significant progress toward a successful closing of the planned merger with OfficeMax by the end of this year. The letter also urges shareholders to support the board’s 10 nominees for the company's board of directors.More

NPD figures reveal slowdown for innerwear
Women's Wear Daily
Innerwear needs a wake-up call. A lack of newness and innovation in the $14.5 billion innerwear market — particularly in the daywear and shapewear sectors — is dragging down sales. (Subscription required.)More

Enhancing the shopping experience
Retailers are taking an innovative approach to connect technology with the in-store experience. One partnership between a retailer and technology is catching the eye of the beauty bloggers and loyalists. Sephora, the No. 1 beauty product retailer in North America, announced a partnership with Pantone to develop Pantone IQ in stores.More

J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven among companies targeted in massive hacking scheme
Chain Store Age
Five individuals have been charged with running a sophisticated, worldwide hacking organization that the U.S. Department of Justice called the largest hacking and data breach scheme ever prosecuted in the United States. The victims in the scheme included such retailers as J.C. Penney, 7-Eleven Inc., Carrefour and Hannaford Brothers Co. More

Coach leans heavily on outlet stores
The Wall Street Journal
As upscale brands seek to enter or expand their outlet businesses and even produce merchandise specifically for that channel, they face an age-old dilemma: sales growth vs. brand exclusivity.More

Pet spending passes $60 billion
Consumer spending in the U.S. pet market will reach $62 billion in 2013, up 4.7 percent over 2012, according to U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2013-2014, a recently released study from market research firm Packaged Facts. More

Kmart offers pay-in-store option for online purchases
Chain Store Age
Kmart is offering members of its Shop Your Way loyalty program the option to reserve items online, pay at their local Kmart store using their cash, check, debit, loyalty points, credit or gift card, and pick up the item onsite if available. Called Pay in Store, the program launches nationally this month and allows online shoppers to select the Pay in Store option and reserve an item for 48 hours.More

RadioShack reports weaker 2Q, eyes turnaround
Fox Business
RadioShack recently reported a wider second-quarter loss driven by clearance events and promotional efforts that weakened margins. The company also announced that Dorvin D. Lively resigned as chief financial officer to pursue another career opportunity. Holly F. Etlin, a managing director at consulting firm AlixPartners, will assume the role of interim CFO. More

E-book vs. p-book
The New Yorker
When Barnes & Noble recently announced that its Nook division lost almost five hundred million dollars last year and that its C.E.O. was resigning, there was one obvious conclusion: The company was doomed. After all, the Nook was how B & N was going to compete with Apple and Amazon, and thrive in a future dominated by e-books. With the Nook's failure, B & N looked like just another business anachronism, a chain of cavernous barns selling piles of outdated merchandise. Who went to a store anymore to buy a physical book?More

Why retailers don't know who sews their clothing
The Wall Street Journal
On two floors of an olive green building with insufficient emergency exits and a too narrow fire escape, women in Saifur Rahman's factory sew fleece sweatshirts for European shoppers. Yet the global brands whose clothes he makes don't always know about him, says Rahman. Often, he says, they believe their clothes were made at bigger factories — ones they have vetted for safety — located miles away.More

In praise of banking at big-box stores
The Wall Street Journal
Here's some good financial news for millions of Americans: The provision in Dodd-Frank that imposed a three-year moratorium on banks affiliated with nonfinancial businesses expired this week. Now, if Congress simply does nothing and regulators apply the law fairly, Wal-Mart could begin offering affordable credit, savings accounts and CDs to consumers. So could Home Depot and Berkshire Hathaway, both of which applied for a charter to offer banking services before Dodd-Frank took effect. More

RadioShack profit misses, revenue up — turnaround expert named interim CFO
Chain Store Age
RadioShack Corp. recently reported a second-quarter loss that was bigger than analysts expected. However, revenue beat expectations, with the first increase in same-store sales since 2010, and the chain announced it was bringing on consultants to help with its turnaround.More

Reinvent the store, invest in people
Chain Store Age
Across-the-board payroll cuts have rarely delivered margins long-term for retailers. Crude cuts are more than misguided today, but a dangerous strategy for stores in the fight for survival against Amazon. More

Kantar Retail: Target narrows Wal-Mart's basket advantage
Chain Store Age
Although Target has narrowed Wal-Mart's basket advantage, the world's largest retailer continues to demonstrate its price advantage, according to Kantar Retail's semi-annual pricing study.More

Adult magazines dropped from shelves at base exchanges
USA Today
Adult magazines for sale at the local Army PX have gone the way of the cavalry charge after a recent decision to strip the shelves at base exchanges of magazines such as Playboy and Penthouse. Marines and sailors will still be able to find those magazines for sale on Navy and Marine Corps exchanges which have not stop selling them, says Marine Corps spokesman Bryan Driver. While morality groups and the brewing sexual assault scandal in the military have raised the temperature on issues such as the availability of pornography to the troops, Army marketers said it was declining interest in the magazines that led to the change.More

Targeting the online back-to-school shopper Blog
It may only be the middle of July, but back-to-school shopping is on retailers' minds. Parents with children in grades K-12 are expected to spend $26.7 billion this year, but that's down from 2012 as consumers say that economic pressures continue to be important factors in purchasing decisions.More

How to keep your customers loyal
When customers leave for other vendors, it's always your fault. Therefore, you'd best understand why they leave and what you must do to keep your existing customers loyal. Here's why they leave and what you can do to prevent it.More

Burger consumption on the rise
Progressive Grocer
With summer grilling season in full swing, consumers are eating burgers more often than ever before, according to new research from Chicago-based Technomic. The overwhelming majority of consumers (95 percent) say they eat burgers at least once per month — with cravings driving this high consumption. Half of consumers (49 percent) cite cravings as one of the top reasons they purchased a burger on their most recent occasion. Additionally, year-over-year comparison data shows that the fast-casual "better burger" segment and customization formats are fueling the category's momentum.More

Big win for retailers over banks in new debit swipe fee ruling
It's back to the drawing board for banks and retailers over the heated debit card swipe fee debate. A judge recently rejected a rule set by the Federal Reserve back in October 2011 which capped the amount banks could take from retailers when consumers swipe their debit cards. Debit CardThe judge said the Fed's rule "disregarded Congress's statutory intent by inappropriately inflating all debit card transaction fees by billions of dollars and failing to provide merchants with multiple unaffiliated networks for each debit card transaction."More

Navy Blue Holiday vendor invite

We are excited to share with you this year's Navy Birthday marks the start of a new season called Navy Blue Holiday. This event is a time to celebrate our valued connection tot he Navy and their families, and reinforce the NEX's mission of quality, value and savings.

You are invited to participate i this season of giving back to our Navy families by contributing towards a total giveaway of $100,000 from Navy Birthday until the end of January. We have carefully put together an aggressive marketing campaign for the Navy Blue Holiday celebration that will include sales flier advertising, in0store signage and radio, email, print advertising and more. Please review the following attachments, and talk with your NEX buyer partner to see how you can be a part of this exciting and meaningful holiday for our military families.
NOTE: Major supporters should complete and return the following form no later than Sept. 6. Please do not mail checks; contributors will be invoiced or charged back based on response.

Click here for the Navy Blue Holiday support info.

Click here for the Navy Blue Holiday support form.More

Navy Distilled Spirits policy change

Click here to read about the latest policy changes.More

Exchange director/CEO visits Fort Hood
Fort Hood Sentinel
Army and Air Force Exchange Service Director and Chief Executive Officer Tom Shull recently visited Fort Hood, meeting with Fort Hood military leadership, customers, Exchange associates and Fort Hood senior leaders. "Since I came on board a little over a year ago, I've made it a priority to meet with Exchange partners face-to-face and see our facilities first-hand," said Shull. "The insights I gained here will help ensure we are doing our part to help make Fort Hood a great place to work and live."More

VendorNet® awarded multiyear dropship contract by the Army and Air Force Exchange Service
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service, the 47th largest retail organization in the U.S., employing more than 42,000 civilian and military personnel, has awarded VendorNet a multiyear contract to replace legacy dropship management technology. VendorNet® Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of GSI Commerce, an eBay, Inc. company, is a provider of omnichannel fulfillment and supply chain technology. VendorNet Dropship Manager, SKU Trak, Returns Manager, and Carrier Integration solutions will replace the 39-year old legacy dropship system to better monitor and control supplier dropship orders and compliance for the Exchange.More

Exchange announces contract with SpeedFC to build integrated eCommerce website

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service recently announced it has awarded a multiyear contract to SpeedFC to build and maintain a state-of-the-art eCommerce platform, replacing a proprietary legacy environment. The Exchange, the 43rd largest retail organization in the U.S., is an omni-channel operator with a website at and more than 2,800 brick and mortar facilities.

The SpeedFC solution will incorporate Oracle's ATG platform for back-end systems, Speed Order, their proprietary system for order management, Omniture for analytics and Endeca for guided navigation, faceted search and search administration. Other customers SpeedFC currently serves include Yankee Candle, Justice Stores and MetroPCS. The fully integrated solution will allow best practice efficiencies which include order management, call center operations as well as warehouse fulfillment services.

"One of our strategic priorities is improving online offerings and the user experience," said the Exchange's Director/CEO Tom Shull. "Whether in-store or online, it is extremely important that we make the same Exchange benefit available to all Soldiers, Airmen, their families and retirees, regardless of where they are stationed or by what means they prefer to shop."

The Exchange website presently offers branded and private label items across all merchandise categories including women's apparel, accessories and beauty, men's, children's, electronics, home, appliances and military apparel, all at significant savings, free shipping on most orders and tax free to its customers. The Exchange plans to add a significant number of additional items prior to the key holiday season.

As part of this integration, the call center will move from a direct in-house operation to an outsourced solution located in the DFW metroplex. "We are family serving family so we take it very seriously when we have to reallocate resources," said Shull. "But these moves are being made in an effort to better serve and support Soldiers, Airmen and their families. At the same time, we have a duty to our associates and, as a result, will make a concerted effort to take care of them with compensation or other opportunities within the organization."

Last year, authorized shoppers placed over 700,000 orders at totaling more than $220,000,000 in revenue.More

Army Community Service honors 48-year history
U.S. Army
For generations, Army spouses have operated lending closets and thrift shops, raised funds to help the needy, assisted in emergencies, taught and trained the inexperienced, provided care and comfort to the ill and bereaved, and, through a grassroots understanding of the Army community, contributed significantly to its stability. An adverse effect of volunteer Army spouses running these social service programs had been that the programs often disappeared or stagnated when their originators transferred or were no longer associated with the service. Now, celebrating a 48th birthday on July 25, Army Community Service has been designed to create continuity and provide a framework for the operation of a viable system of social services within the Army community.More

MDW commander tours JBM-HH
After assuming command in late June, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, commander of Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and the Military District of Washington, sat down for a get-acquainted meeting with Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall officials at command headquarters on the Fort Myer portion of JBM-HH July 22. Foregoing a Power Point briefing, the general shook hands with joint base leaders and directorate heads in the Bldg. 59 conference room. Attending officials went around the table introducing themselves and providing thumbnail sketches of their backgrounds and duties.More

Army Soldier Show coming Aug. 2-3
The Southeast Sun
The show that brings the Army's most talented singers and dancers under one roof — The 2013 U.S. Army Soldier Show — is coming Aug. 2-3 to the Enterprise High School Performing Arts Center. "Family and MWR is proud to be a part of bringing the U.S. Army Soldier Show back year after year to our area," said Tim Laster, director of Fort Rucker's Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "This year we are fortunate to be able to partner with Enterprise High School to present the show at their wonderful performing arts center." More