ALA Executive Briefing
Aug. 16, 2013

Obama exempts military pay, personnel from cuts next year
Bloomberg
The White House budget director recently notified Congress that President Barack Obama intends to exempt military personnel from automatic budget cuts known as sequestration again next year. More

Pentagon: Same-sex spouses to get benefits
Kileen Daily Herald
The Pentagon recently announced that it would extend federal benefits to same-sex spouses of military personnel and civilian defense employees, following up on a Supreme Court decision that overturned a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act.More

Pentagon allows few exceptions to limits on employee awards
The Washington Post
The Pentagon, which recently reduced the number of furlough days for its civilian employees, will allow only "limited exceptions" to restrictions on incentive payments for them.More

Ahoy, leaner fleet
Honolulu Star-Advertiser
The Navy's operations chief counts up the expected losses from funding cuts and outlines how the service will deal with them.More

DeCA realigns sales directorate
Commissaries
The Defense Commissary Agency announces provisional realignment of its sales directorate and the selection of Randall L. "Randy" Chandler as sales director and Tracie L. Russ as deputy sales director. Chandler was the former Central Area director and Russ had served as the director of Business Development.More

Change management among new leadership selections
Commissaries
The Defense Commissary Agency has selected Mark Simpson as change management officer, a new position created to develop, establish and facilitate corporate change. The announcement of Simpson's assignment is one of several significant leadership selections designed to further the agency's vision of delivering a modern benefit that's relevant to commissary patrons, said DeCA Director and CEO Joseph Jeu. The other selections announced are: Christopher Burns, chief performance officer; Teena Standard, executive officer to the DeCA director; and Gordon Jones, director of business development.More

DeCA merges contracting functions
Commissaries
The Defense Commissary Agency has merged its acquisition management and resale contracting functions in a provisional move that was effective July 14. This reorganization moves the resale contracting directorate from the Sales, Marketing and Policy Group to the Infrastructure Support Group as a division within the acquisition management directorate. This provisional realignment will officially stand up Oct. 6.More

Military commissary lighting sought by US Air Force
TMCnet
The U.S. Air Force Installation Contracting Agencies, Aviano Air Base, Italy, has issued a combined synopsis/solicitation notice (FA5682-13-Q-5000) for the replacement of commissary lighting with energy efficient light emitting diode lights. It was posted on Aug. 14 with a response date of Sept. 16.More

Inmar-built mobile app for defense commissary now available
Digital Journal
Inmar recently announced that the mobile app developed by the company for patrons of Defense Commissary Agency Rewards Card program is now available. This version of the app is for shoppers, who use DeCA's load-to-card digital coupon program and use the iPhone or iPad, and is accessible for download at the app store. More

Review could lead to higher prices at the commissary
Army Times
Defense officials will take a "candid look" at whether commissaries should operate without taxpayer subsidies, said Jessica Wright, acting undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. Eliminating the $1.4 billion annual taxpayer subsidy for commissaries was one potential cost-cutting measure outlined in the Pentagon's new strategic review, released July 31. That would mean marking up the price of groceries, similar to the way military exchanges mark up their products to pay for operating costs.More

ALA supports President Barack Obama's statement on closing commissaries
Rock Hill Herald
President Barack Obama affirmed support for military commissaries during a speech to Marines at Camp Pendleton, California, on Aug. 7. Citing sequester cuts that are impacting on Defense readiness President Obama said: "Hardworking folks are getting furloughed, families getting by on less, fewer ships available for your training exercises, the commissary your families rely on closed a day a week. We can do better than that. That's not how a great nation should be treating its military and military families."More

Commissaries offer back to school savings
Military.com
Commissaries are offering significant savings on "Back to School" products to help parents prepare their children for the classroom. "Your commissary is the very best choice to get food products for your children's healthy breakfasts; easy-to-prepare, healthy pack lunches; after-school snacks and other school-related items," said Michelle Frost, the Defense Commissary Agency's chief of promotions and marketing. "And, we have them available at the best prices in town."More

Commissaries back to normal hours after furloughs
Military.com
The Defense Department's cancellation of remaining furlough days will allow commissaries worldwide to resume normal hours after Aug. 17, Defense Commissary Agency officials announced. All stores were affected by the furlough, either closing one day a week or operating with a reduced staff that, at some locations, caused longer-than-normal checkout times.More

La Mirada residents clip coupons for military members overseas
Los Cerritos News
You wouldn't expect people living in Okinawa, Japan, to know about The Palms Senior Living Community in La Mirada, California. But for military members and their families stationed at the U.S. Army Base in Okinawa, the residents at The Palms play a vital role in helping to keep their grocery bills and other expenses affordable as they serve our country overseas.More

Commissaries return to normal hours Aug. 18-24
Shaw Air Force Base
Military commissaries worldwide will return to normal operating schedules the week of Aug. 18-24, said the director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency. The DeCA announcement comes in the wake of the Department of Defense's Aug. 6 decision to curtail furloughs of its civilian workforce from 11 to six days.More

Military supermarkets testing e-commerce tech
Fast Company
Active duty military personnel and their families can now order groceries at near-wholesale prices online. The Pentagon is testing a new e-commerce program for commissaries, Click2Go, which lets customers order groceries online and then do curbside pickup and payment at their base commissary. (The close-knit housing model of most military bases makes home delivery less of a demand.) More

Pinnacle Foods to buy Unilever's Wish-Bone salad dressing business
Reuters
Packaged foods company Pinnacle Foods Inc said it would buy Unilever Plc's Wish-Bone salad dressings business for $580 million to expand its range of branded food products. Pinnacle, home to labels such as Birds Eye and Duncan Hines, said that it expected a tax benefit of about $125 million because the all-cash deal was structured as an asset purchase.More

Packaged foods decline in volume across US supermarkets
Food Product Design
Packaged foods and beverages continue to decline in volume across U.S. supermarkets and as they shift into discount channels, according to a new report released by Hartman Strategy. The report examines how the primary food retailing channel can isolate and build new sources of growth. It also looks at the U.S. supermarket's historical roots and its transformation from a supplier of dry, bulk, unpackaged goods to packaged, prepared foods.More

Paperless coupon redemption sees 'exponential growth'
Progressive Grocer
Redemption volume for digitally discovered coupons — including Internet print-at-home coupons as well as paperless coupons that consumers acquire online and load directly to their shopper loyalty accounts — increased significantly in the first half of 2013 compared with the same period last year, according to research from Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Inmar.More

Report: New concepts essential to engaging shoppers
The Packer
The latest report from Packaged Facts indicates consumers are looking for something exciting. The report, "The Future of Food Retailing: Shopper Insights and Market Opportunities," says the retail food market is undergoing the most dramatic changes in half a century. While supermarkets remain the primary shop for most consumers, the retail food market is seeing increased pressure from supercenters, warehouse clubs, drugstores, dollar stores, limited assortment and online grocery.More

Industry applauds gluten-free labeling
The Gourmet Retailer
On Aug. 2, The FDA published a new regulation that defines the term "gluten-free" for food labeling. The new rule provides a standard definition of "gluten free" in the food industry that will help more than 3 million people with celiac disease identify suitable food products. According to the FDA, the ruling requires that in order to use the term "gluten free" on its label, a food product must meet all of the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten.More

Consumers aren't scared of sugar — but would like to cut back
FoodNavigator
Sugar reduction — rather than substitution — is an area that fits well with consumer concerns about sugar, and big brand moves in the area could spur action from smaller players, according to Mintel.More

Commissaries return to normal hours Aug. 18-24
Air Force Reserve Command
Military commissaries worldwide will return to normal operating schedules the week of Aug. 18-24, said the director and CEO of the Defense Commissary Agency.More

On defense cuts, Rep. Forbes fighting his own party
The Virginian-Pilot
U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes has spent much of his dozen years in Congress gaining expertise on military affairs and using it to combat efforts by House liberals to scale back defense spending.More

Twin Cities pawnshops give discount retail a run for its money
Star Tribune
Pawnshops across the Twin Cities are spiffing up their stores, adding new merchandise and trying other strategies to attract customers like Andrews who wouldn't have considered the outlets in the past. Some are considering getting out of the retail business and focusing on providing a bank alternative to the unbanked and under-banked. Other pawnshops have poured big bucks into retail buildouts and remodels and added new merchandise to augment a declining amount of pawned merchandise.More

3-D printing with makerbot in Microsoft stores
Forbes
What the 3-D printing industry needs, particularly for U.S. consumers, is a big and easy retail location to see a 3D printer in action. Microsoft retail stores across the country will make that possible with the MakerBot Replicator 2 desktop printer. 3-D printing is a growing trend, but one that still mystifies many consumers. More

Report: DVDs fuel home entertainment spending dip in Q2
Chain Store Age
Total spending on at-home entertainment in the U.S. declined 1.4 percent in the second quarter of this year compared to the same time period last year, according to research by Digital Entertainment Group. Consumers spent $3.94 billion on at-home entertainment in second quarter 2013, compared to $4 billion in second quarter 2012.More

Wal-Mart labor settlement calls for safety fixes at 2,857 stores
Chain Store Age
In a settlement agreement with the U.S. Labor Department, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has agreed to improve safety conditions for employees who use trash compactors and cleaning chemicals at 2,857 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in 28 states.More

Best Buy works to get its website up to snuff
The Wall Street Journal
As Best Buy Co. tries to turn around its consumer-electronics business, the retail chain is grappling with a website that the company concedes is a throwback to the digital Dark Ages. The site provides skimpy details on the gadgets for sale and it has fewer and less-informative customer reviews than are available at rival sites like Amazon.com Inc.More

Wal-Mart's new goal: Sell all the beer
Bloomberg Businessweek
When Wal-Mart began buying a greater number of locally grown fruits and vegetables in 2010, it made sure its efforts got plenty of publicity. But when Wal-Mart decided it wanted to double its alcohol sales by 2016, it didn't exactly issue a press release. Customers noticed, and those in the alcohol industry — or, as Walmart prefers, the adult beverage business — certainly took note of the change. More

Retailers see tough start to back-to-school; July results miss views
The Wall Street Journal
Retailers, particularly those that cater to teenagers, had a difficult start to the second half of the year and critical back-to-school season, as July sales came in below expectations. "Mall traffic trends overall were just weak in July," said Barclays specialty retail analyst Matthew McClintock, adding the month was highly promotional as retailers tried to entice what shoppers there were. Although retailers are still clearing through some leftover spring clearance inventory, July offers the first look at how the companies are faring in the back-to-school season, which can typically be an indicator of holiday performance. More

Monetizing social: RadioShack looks to turn social media into a money-maker
STORES
Next year Facebook turns 10, with Flickr, YouTube and Twitter set to celebrate their first decades soon thereafter. In just a short amount of time, social media has been created, left some founders in the dust and raised questions for retailers: On which social media sites must they have a presence; how to create and maintain that presence; and how to find the business value.More

5 ways online retailers are preparing for Holiday 2013
Shop.org Blog
Shop.org recently asked retailers how early they start planning their online holiday season. Half of the respondents said they've been preparing for the holidays since April or May. This is one takeaway in the 2013 Shop.org Pre-Holiday Retailer Survey, conducted last month with Prosper Insights & Analytics. This year, retailers are investing in a multitude of site features and services, marketing programs, mobile initiatives and more to maximize Q4 results.More

Rise in US retail sales points to pickup in spending
Bloomberg
Retail sales rose in July for a fourth consecutive month, showing American households are regaining momentum as employment climbs. The 0.2 percent increase in purchases followed a 0.6 percent June gain that was larger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. The numbers in the report that feed into gross domestic product climbed by the most this year, prompting some economists to boost growth estimates. More

Retailers hope for a cool autumn
CNBC
Is a cool wind about to blow in favor of retailers? "Unfavorable weather conditions negatively impacted sales" is a phrase often used by retailers trying to explain away weaker-than-expected sales results. And while it seems like just an excuse to mask other issues, sometimes there is validity to the reasoning. This summer, a number of retailers and analysts blamed tepid sales and traffic over the early summer weeks on an unusually cooler and wetter late spring and early summer. For some, the weather truly could have been a headwind. More

AAA Fuel Gauge Report: Motorists enjoying savings at the pump
Convenience Store News
The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline fell again this week, dropping 7 cents to $3.55 per gallon, which still stands as the fourth-highest price on record for the calendar date of Aug. 12. The national average has now declined for 22 of the past 24 days, including an 11-day streak. During those 24 days, the national average fell 12 cents, somewhat offsetting the 20-cent increase that took place July 7-19, according to the latest AAA Fuel Gauge Report.More

Social media offers valuable tools for B2B crisis communication
Business 2 Community
Just imagine: You have to recall one of your most popular products, your website "rollover" turns into a two-day outage; a fire damages your regional distribution center. Crises like these do happen, and when they do, the company's usual crisis communications plan is rolled out and maneuvered into position. You know the drill: PR meets with top management, then drafts a tight-lipped statement. A frowning woman from legal goes over your letter to distributors with a red pen, removing any shred of apology. From the point of view of the marketing team, about the only thing that could make this scenario more out-of-date is a horse and buggy.More

Fast food goes upscale
CNBC via The Daily Beast
With fast-casual restaurants such as Chipotle and Panera Bread growing at a sprint while fast-food counterparts expand at more of a slow jog, the latter group is entering the race and trying to shift upscale. At stake is a booming restaurant segment. Fast-casual restaurant sales rose 13 percent last year, while fast-food sales increased 4.7 percent, according to data from market research firm Technomic. The company expects the former to grow an average of 10 percent through 2017, compared with a rise of 3.5 percent for fast food.More

US retail sales data points to improving economy
Reuters
U.S. retail sales rose in July, pointing to acceleration in consumer spending that could bolster the case at the U.S. Federal Reserve for winding down a major economic stimulus program. Other data recently released showed that small businesses were more optimistic in July, although companies rebuilt inventories in June at an unexpectedly weaker pace. More

NEXCOM alcoholic beverage new direction

All,

I know many of you have read the impending changes as it relates to new direction in our stores regarding the sales of alcoholic beverages. Although locations have not been finalized, our directional guidance is noted below. Waiver consideration will be worked through each individual base command. We expect to have a final store list of impacted stores in the next couple of weeks. We are working with our DVP's to implement an execution plan. Please feel free to reach out directly to me with any questions.

Thanks

Background:
CNO letter of July 18, 2013 provides direction to NEXCOM regarding handling of Alcohol in Navy Exchanges. Key points are as follows:

Examples that may lead to anticipated waivers could include:
  1. Stores that are geographically separated from the main base and no main store nearby;
  2. Housing mini-marts located away from the main base or with minimal Single Sailor population;
  3. Package stores within a convenience store, where it is currently the primary selling location on a base;
  4. In OCONUS locations with ration controls, force protection issues, or limited or no alternate sources of supply.
Debbie Scher
Wine & Spirits Buyer
757-631-3861More

AAFES to show films
Military.com
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service and The Walt Disney Studios are teaming up to offer first-run films to military families at continental United States Exchange movie theaters. The agreement marks the first time that movies will be shown at continental United States Exchange theaters on the same day of general market release. More

New AAFES website
Military.com
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service has updated its official website at ShopMyExchange.com at www.shopmyexchange.com in preparation for the key holiday selling season. Easy-to-find buttons for key features such as sales, customer service, online account management and Military StarTM Card service are now conveniently placed at the top of the page, and the product search bar is now more prominent within the website's layout.More

ALA supports President Barack Obama's statement on closing commissaries
Enhanced Online News
President Barack Obama affirmed support for military commissaries during a speech to Marines at Camp Pendleton, California, on Aug. 7. Citing sequester cuts that are impacting on Defense readiness President Obama said: "Hardworking folks are getting furloughed, families getting by on less, fewer ships available for your training exercises, the commissary your families rely on closed a day a week. We can do better than that. That's not how a great nation should be treating its military and military families." More

MWR calendar
DCMilitary
Read on to find out more info on upcoming events such as pool parties, flag football and video game tournaments.More

AF changes fitness center hours

Earlier this year, six Air Force installations implemented unmanned hours at their fitness center, making them accessible 24/7. Since February, there have been roughly 25,000 visits between the test bases and every aspect of the initiative is going well. Now with the test phase at these six bases nearing its end, the program is rolling out Air Force wide. Registration for the test bases has already begun for authorized users of the fitness center who are 18 years and older. Users must have a valid government identification card in to register. Dependents, 16-17 years old must register and be with their registered sponsor to enter. For more information, airmen should contact their local base fitness center. For military fitness guides and tips, visit the Military.com Fitness Center. More

Pensacola Naval Air Station secretary, Marine husband hit lottery jackpot
Army Times
A civil service worker who has felt the sting of federal furloughs and her Marine Corps husband won't have to work "paycheck to paycheck" anymore after recently winning $1 million in the $448.4 million Powerball jackpot.More