ALA Executive Briefing
Aug. 24, 2012

Report: Dial back pay raises
Army Times
The time is right to scrimp on military pay raises, says a new report that appears to agree with a Pentagon proposal to cap basic pay hikes starting in 2015. The report, commissioned by the Defense Department, was conducted by the Rand Corp., a think tank that has done considerable research for the military on ways to hold down personnel costs.More

Sequester ground zero: 'Fayette-nam'
In the military town home to Fort Bragg, long fighting off its nickname "Fayette-nam," the unemployment rate has soared above that in the rest of the country for years. And things could get much worse, military officials, contractors and voters here fear, if Congress doesn't work out a deal before Jan. 2, when $500 billion in automatic defense cuts will take effect. More

US troops' children early victims of Congress budget inaction
Amid all the hand-wringing in the U.S. Congress over Jan. 2 spending cuts that would wallop military and domestic programs, children of American soldiers already are feeling the pinch of a budget mess.More

Survey: Finding a job biggest challenge for veterans
The Washington Post
Despite a continued drop in the unemployment rate among Iraq- and Afghanistan-era veterans, a new survey reports that more than two-thirds of their post-9/11 generation believe that finding a job is the greatest challenge they face in making the transition to civilian life.More

Surge in canceled deals offers preview of sequester damage ahead
The Washington Post
A surge in canceled U.S. contracts as war funding winds down may be a preview of the damage ahead for government vendors under looming automatic budget cuts.More

Defense workers to Congress: Solve the problem, stop the automatic cuts
The uncertainty over automatic cuts in U.S. defense spending to be triggered in January because of congressional inaction has spread to the engineers and project managers in South Florida's aerospace industry.More

Obama extends pay freeze until Congress passes a budget
Government Executive
President Barack Obama recently said he would use his authority to give federal employees an across-the-board 0.5 percent pay raise in 2013, but the increase will not take effect until Congress passes a budget. Lawmakers anticipate passing a six-month continuing resolution when they return from August recess to fund the government through the first part of fiscal 2013. That means a pay raise for federal workers would not take effect until April, at the earliest.More

89 — Dairy Products - MIW 695 - FHCC 556
Federal Business Opportunities
This is a sources sought notice for identification of potential vendors to provide all required Milk & Dairy products to the Nutrition and Food Services and the Veterans Canteen Service on an as needed basis at the following facilities.More

Federal Business Opportunities
This is a sources sought notice for identification of potential vendors to provide all required Bread & Bakery products to the Nutrition and Food Services and the Veterans Canteen Service on an as needed basis at the following facilities.More

Jewel-Osco changes up cheese section
Supermarket News
Supervalu's Jewel-Osco stores are working with Kraft Foods to revise their dairy case cheese sections to make them more shoppable, officials said. "Approximately half of Jewel-Osco's 180 stores are participating in the reorganization of the dairy cheese category. These are the stores that have enough space for the project," said Bob Brown, Jewel-Osco sales and merchandising manager. More

US drought to boost food prices through next year
Progressive Grocer
The drought epidemic impacting much of the U.S. will result in overall higher food prices in the coming months and well into 2013, according to analysts with Great American Group. Beef and dairy products will be affected in particular, which are expected to post substantial increases as the cost of corn continues to rise. More

Barons Market's small format, 'clean' products provide edge
Retail Leader
As many midmarket supermarkets struggle to boost margins due to higher costs and increased competition, some niche players are outperforming them. San Diego, Calif.-based Barons Market is one of a growing number of specialty grocers succeeding by differentiating themselves through product selection, service and price. More

The top 5 grocery store tricks to avoid
Elevated Existence
Since America has turned onto a health kick recently, retailers and grocery stores alike are trying to keep up by adding new "healthy" items geared towards consumers' wants and needs. However, when grocery shopping, it is very easy to get confused on what is actually healthy. The following are the five most common health claims to watch out for.More

Food co-ops beat grocery stores: 5 to 0
Care2 Causes
The National Cooperative Grocers Association released a new study, "Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: Measuring the Social and Economic Impact of Food Co-ops," that compares how food co-ops and conventional grocery stores perform in five categories. As described on the NCGA consumer website, "unlike their conventional counterparts, co-ops are owned and governed by member-shoppers and rooted in principles like community, voluntary and open membership, economic participation and cooperation. Because of these principles and practices, food co-ops inherently serve and benefit the communities where they are located."More

Shopping at certain times can save you money on groceries
VideoBriefEveryone is bracing for soaring prices at the grocery store as a result of the nation's severe drought, but experts say when you shop could save you money on groceries. According to Time Magazine, meat should be purchased in the morning on weekdays, when you are more likely to see "manager's specials" that often must be sold by noon. Just freeze what you don't use.More

How to read the sticker codes on grocery store produce
When you buy fresh produce at the grocery store, you may notice they're often stickered with a code that the store uses to match the produce to its type and price when you check out. What you may not know is that code can tell you a lot about what you're buying.More

Shop off the beaten path for savings
The Seattle Times
Grocery shopping can feel less like a chore and more like an adventure when you shop off the beaten path. Shaking things up by adding "nontraditional" sources of fresh foods and pantry items can net you some big bargains — and encourage you to try new things. More

Grocery dietitians advocate balanced diets
Progressive Grocer
A growing number of dietitians and nutritionists have joined grocery chains in the past decade to help advise consumers on important health issues. Many of them have taken the stance that a well-rounded, balanced diet is key — choosing not to single out particular products or ingredients sold on their shelves as being unhealthy, unless they are over-consumed.More

As school bells ring, retailers start listening for sleigh bells
Orlando Sentinel
U.S. retailers expect another solid showing this holiday season, as summertime surveys and shipments show that companies are placing big orders even as some remain cautious about the economy.More

Best Buy names former Carlson Chief Joly as new CEO
The Wall Street Journal
Best Buy Co. recently named a new chief executive to lead the company as it struggles with falling sales and manages a public back-and-forth with founder Richard Schulze, who proposed to take the retailer private earlier this month. (Subscription required.)More

Brand watch: Target's multichannel mobile approach
Mobile Marketer
Not many marketers have a solid mobile strategy and retail giant Target is among the select few that truly understands that taking a multichannel approach is critical in driving engagement and sales.More

Kay Krill on giving Ann Taylor a makeover
Bloomberg Businessweek
Building on the success of her Loft division, Krill is making over Ann Taylor with smaller stores and cheaper clothes. She talks with Carol Hymowitz about shopping during the downturn.More

Dillard's: A department store on sale for investors
The Globe and Mail
The drama in U.S. retailing is at J.C. Penney Co. Inc., where former Apple Inc. executive Ron Johnson, brought in to revitalize the retailer, has instead presided over two disastrous quarters. It's enough to make you wonder whether there's any hope for the good old-fashioned department store sector. That company is Little Rock-based Dillard's Inc. More

Is J.C. Penney your new yoga studio?
Dallas Business Journal
Would you take a yoga class in the middle of a J.C. Penney store? Ron Johnson hopes so. The CEO of the Plano-based retailer said that in the center of the store, known as "The Square," the company will have seasonal merchandise, as well as activities like yoga or Pilates classes.More

The power of partners
American Express OPEN Forum
If you're the sole owner of your business, how can you tap into the power of partners? Try finding a partner outside the business. Whether it's a mentor, a spouse or even a trusted professional like your accountant, you need someone you can talk to honestly and openly, getting input about your business, venting about the bad days and celebrating the good days.More

Can you ban perfume in your workplace?
American Express OPEN Forum
One employer is facing the considerable expense of a trial, a settlement — or both — thanks to its refusal to attempt to provide a fragrance-free workplace to accommodate an employee's allergy.More

Inside a customer's head
American Express OPEN Forum
Rory Vaden writes, "Let's be upfront: I'm not a customer service expert. But I am an expert customer. I know when someone cares about me and my business and when someone is just watching the clock until it's time to go home. If you hate your job, I get it. I wouldn't want to be there any longer than I was scheduled to either. But providing fundamental service while you are there is not about loving your job, it's not even about work ethic — it's about human decency."More

When working from home isn't working
American Express OPEN Forum
Whatever the reason, despite your best intentions, working at home is not working for you. Renting expensive, full-time office space defeats the purpose of minimizing business expenses by working at home, so here are five low-cost alternatives. More

Understanding your customers through research
American Express OPEN Forum
Most business leaders know the value of customer input and feedback. But if some recent developments are any indication, the right way to get that customer insight is less well understood and practiced.More

How to get a good deal on almost anything
American Express OPEN Forum
Looking for a deal on a salad bar? A helicopter? Or just a laptop? Chances are there's a government agency looking to offload one online. Federal, state and city agencies are using Internet auction sites the way the rest of us do — as online garage sales.More

What did we learn from Chick-fil-A?
American Express OPEN Forum
Who would have thought that the London Olympics, the presidential election campaign and the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death would all be overshadowed by a chicken sandwich? Yet that was the case when the Chick-fil-A controversy erupted. More

The 5 unwritten rules that will kill your business
American Express OPEN Forum
It goes without saying that as business leaders we enforce rules that "go without saying." You know what I'm talking about — those unwritten rules like "The customer is always right" and "Hire only A players." These apparently obvious business success rules aren't necessarily written in corporate guidelines or HR manuals, but they obviously work. Or at least that's what we thought.More

Retail and consumer products: A less stable environment ahead
National Retail Federation
By all indications, 2012 will be another year of lethargic growth, store closings and increased focus on everyday low prices by several major retailers, all which will have a significant impact on the entire retail landscape. Multichannel is key to survival for many. Online retailing also threatens existing store economics, measurement systems and incentives. As a result, financial metrics are changing, too.More

How retailers measure up on 'research online, purchase offline' capabilities Blog
Judging from the results of the "Global Cross-Channel Retailing Report: The (Un)Connected Store" study conducted by Okamura Consulting and Ebeltoft Group earlier this year, some retailers and some categories are making strides, while others clearly have a fair bit of work ahead.More

Shopping malls grow appetite for restaurants
The nation's shopping malls are undergoing a big shift — one that will soon be hard to miss. They're adding a full course of sit-down restaurants where you have typically found retailers in the past. More

Where's the big idea? Blog
Marketers have long sought the "big idea" when it comes to creative expression of their brands. Belief in the power of a big idea to accelerate a brand's success has long been a cornerstone of many legacy ad campaigns. With the multiplication of screens, a widespread fragmentation of audiences and an increase deficiency in tracking media consumption behavior, is the big idea still relevant?More

Target eyes over 75 CityCenter stores
Women's Wear Daily
Target Corp. has big plans for its CityTarget format. As the discounter released second-quarter results and raised year-end guidance, Greg Steinhafel, chairman, president and chief executive officer, envisions "somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 units to a couple hundred" CityTarget stores. "There are very strong levels of sales in apparel and home. That's a Target signature strength and it's resonating in urban markets," said the executive. (Subscription required.)More

Go consumer! The mixed picture for retail spending
Bloomberg Businessweek
Nobody breaks a pundit's heart like the U.S. consumer. Since late 2008, these fickle folks have kept economists guessing. One minute, they're confident. The next, they're not. Even now, with the U.S. unemployment rate rising to 8.3 percent and Europe edging into recession, Americans are spending again.More

Apparel prices climb
Women's Wear Daily
Retailers successfully maintained their pricing power for the fifth consecutive month in July, as apparel prices rose 0.2 percent last month according to the Labor Department's Consumer Price Index. (Subscription required.)More

Virtual storefronts: Retailers try to combine online and traditional shopping
Postmedia News
The problem with online retail is that there's no foot traffic. The problem with brick-and-mortar retail is that it demands staff, space and money – not easy to come by in uncertain economic times. Enterprising sellers are instead combining the two, operating storefronts with no physical store.More

It's hot now, but forecasters see a big winter coming
Christian Science Monitor via NBC News
Last winter, big cities like New York and Philadelphia saved a lot of money because the Northeast had a snow drought. Not so this winter. Yes, even while air conditioners are still running, meteorologists are beginning to focus on the long-term winter weather forecast. More

Retail gas prices rise to season high
Convenience Store News
The pain at the pump got a little more painful this past week as gas prices hit a seasonal high. The national average price for regular gas increased 2.3 cents to reach $3.744 a gallon, nearly 20 cents higher than a year ago when the price stood at $3.581 a gallon, according to the Energy Information Administration. The figure is the highest level for this season since at least 1990, according to Bloomberg.More

Import numbers show signs of stronger holiday season in 2012
Retail's BIG Blog
With retailers smack in the middle of back-to-school, it's way too early to predict what will happen during the holiday season. NRF's annual forecast doesn't come out until October, and lots can happen between now and then. But one set of numbers recently released could give some insight into what retailers are expecting. More

Study: Discounts as low as 2.5 percent sway shoppers to leave stores, purchase online
Drug Store News
Forty-five percent of customers shopping in-store at brick-and mortar-locations will walk out and complete their purchase online for a discount as low as 2.5 percent, according to new showrooming research from GroupM Next. This number jumps to 60 percent of shoppers who will leave and purchase a product online for a savings of 5 percent. When discovering an online discount of 20 percent, a small percentage of shoppers (13 percent) stay and complete their purchase in store.More

Wal-Mart gives its Facebook fans early access to layaway
Internet Retailer
The holiday season continues to get started earlier and earlier. The latest example is Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which is giving shoppers who Like its stores' local Facebook pages early access to holiday-only layaway program.More

NRF: School, college shoppers' lists still long
National Retail Federation
According to NRF's 2012 Back-to-School and College Surveys conducted by BIGinsight, the average person with children in grades K-12 has completed 40.1 percent of their shopping, while college shoppers and their families have completed slightly more at 45.3 percent. Overall, school and college shoppers this year are expected to spend a total of $83.8 billion. More

ALA Benefit Luncheon

Click here for flier to the Hampton Roads ALA Benefit Luncheon for AREA & NEREAMore

Dear Exchange partners,

Dan Tompkins, SVP, and Harold Hall, VP, Exchange Logistics will be attending this year's ALA National Convention and would like to invite each of our partners to contact us so we can discuss any question or issues related to Exchange DC and Transportation operations. We are working with Bob Ellis to set up a meeting area in the general session room the evening of the Oct. 2, or if that is not convenient then we can set up times during breaks, lunch or after the sessions. If you have specific questions or want to set up a specific time contact me at so that we can set up the meeting or be prepare to address those specific questions. Looking forward to meeting everyone and see you in October.

Harold C. Hall
Vice President
Logistics Directorate
Army & Air Force Exchange Service
WK: 214-312-3043/ Cell: 214-263-3267
Visit our online store! www.shopmyexchange.comMore

NSA Hampton Roads hosts inaugural Back-to-School Extravaganza
The Flagship
Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads held their inaugural Back-to-School Extravaganza at the Capt. Slade Cutter Athletic Park, Aug. 10. The free event was open to the public. The goal of the event was to provide military and non-military children, and their families, an opportunity to meet School Liaison Officers, learn about the programs available to them in the surrounding community, and of course, have a lot of fun. More

Bases ponder charging stations for personal electric vehicles
Stars and Stripes
The Department of Defense may soon encourage private companies to fund quick-charge points on military bases so service members can juice up personal electric cars. Off-base "quick-charge points" are proliferating near military facilities in California, Hawaii and Japan, and bases have started to install their own chargers to cater to a growing armada of battery-powered official vehicles.More