ALA Executive Briefing
Sept. 16, 2011

Panetta, defense Industry chiefs commiserate over spending cuts
The Wall Street Journal
Obi-Wan Panetta, you're our only hope. That's the message that top defense-industry executives seem to have had in mind when they met this morning with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.More

Defense budget could fall by 31 percent in 10 years
Government Executive
Planners of the defense budget face an unprecedented challenge in responding to new threats in a post-9/11 era at the same time resources are diminishing, experts said. The analysts from the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments were speaking at the National Press Club on lessons learned 10 years after the 2001 terrorist attacks.More

The new chief of staff: His plans for the Army
Army Times via Killeen Daily Herald
The Army's new top officer is in his first full week leading a force that faces huge challenges and an uncertain future. Gen. Ray Odierno outlined his top priorities and his plan of attack with Army Times on his second day as the Army's 38th chief of staff. He will carry out his plans with a shrinking force as the Army cuts nearly 50,000 soldiers in coming years — and possibly more.More

Defending jobs
The Economist
One of the biggest headaches for policymakers in many rich countries has been how to create jobs during a period of fiscal austerity and anemic growth. The private sector has been slow to generate jobs, and government-spending cuts usually end up cutting jobs. America's defense department had 3.2 million people on its payroll last year, equivalent to 1 percent of the country's population.More

Scholarships for Military Children Program
Fisher House Foundation
In a memorandum dated Sept. 13, Fisher House Foundation has announced the dates for the opening and closing of the Scholarships for Military Children Program for school year 2012-2013, as well as providing other information of interest to DeCA vendors.More

Grocers balance higher costs with consumers looking for deals
The Wall Street Journal
Supermarket chains, many of which face a 4 percent rise in food costs this year, are being forced to reconcile raising prices with potentially losing shoppers to rivals who hold the line. In this balancing act, chains including Whole Foods Market Inc., Safeway Inc. and Supervalu Inc. say they are trying to make promotions more effective, be mindful of where they raise prices and work out better deals with vendors.More

Frozen seafood seized by FDA
The Downey Patriot
At the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Marshals last month seized seafood products manufactured by the Meiko Food Co. of South El Monte because the products are adulterated. A complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleges that Meiko Foods manufactures and packages ready-to-eat seafood, including cooked seafood balls and fried fish cakes, without having a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point plan in place, in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.More

Overpackaging vs. underpackaging: Finding the balance
Environmental Leader
A new store called in.gredients is planning to open this fall in Austin, offering high-quality grocery products that include organic grains, natural baking ingredients and local meats. What makes in.gredients different than others is its package, or rather, lack thereof: The grocery store is making its debut as the first package-free and zero-waste grocery store in the United States.More

Freeze-dried cauliflower promoted as nutritious addition for children's favorites
Food Ingredients First
Freeze-dried cauliflower from Van Drunen Farms is being promoted as the perfect addition to children's favorite meals such as spaghetti, taco fillings and dips. With its mild flavor and ability to blend easily with other, stronger flavors, Freeze-dried cauliflower is a great way to add the nutritional benefits of this cruciferous veggie without sacrificing taste. Cauliflower is low in calories, high in vitamin C and a good source of folic acid and fiber, making it an ideal ingredient for children and adults.More

How Kraft will market its grocery business after the split
Advertising Age
Kraft Foods CEO Irene Rosenfeld signaled the food giant will continue to aggressively market its North American grocery brands, even after the business is severed from its faster-growing global snacks unit in a split planned for the end of next year. "If you believe that there is a new normal of slower consumption growth in North America — and we do — certain capabilities will be even more important in the future," Rosenfeld told analysts at Barclays Capital's Back-to-School Consumer Conference.More

Retailers, relax — it will be a decent holiday
Marketing Daily via MediaPost
A funny thing happened on the way to the fourth quarter: Instead of the gradually building economic recovery most retailers had been anticipating, lousy economic headlines cast a cloud over Christmas before they had a chance to put out their Halloween candy. But not everyone is downbeat. "We're actually pretty optimistic for Christmas, and the fourth quarter as a whole," said Craig R. Johnson, president of Customer Growth Partners, a retail consultancy based in New Canaan, Conn.More

Toys 'R' Us gains new spirit
Star Tribune
Once destined for oblivion in the face of withering competition from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com, Toys 'R' Us has found some spring in its step. The company is aggressively remodeling its stores and beefing up its online business. Toys 'R' Us teams are scouring the globe, looking to score exclusive merchandising deals.More

Disney names consumer products chief
The New York Times
Disney recently said it would reorganize its approach to mass-market retailers and named a movie distribution executive to lead the effort. Robert Chapek, formerly president of distribution for Walt Disney Studios, will take over as president of Disney Consumer Products, succeeding Andrew P. Mooney, who recently resigned as chairman of that division. Chapek's first chore will involve working with Disney's various units to create a more consolidated way of interacting with retailers like Wal-Mart.More

Retail sales pace slowed in August
Detroit Free Press
U.S. retail sales rose in August at the slowest pace in three months, tempered by limited job and income growth, economists said before a report due out this week. Retailers J.C. Penney and Target say sales gains are more difficult because of a stagnant labor market that's battered confidence.More

Retailers remember 9/11 through charity, volunteering
Retail's BIG Blog
Reminders of the tragic events that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001, are everywhere — a cross on the field in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed into the ground, a permanent gallery of news related to the attacks at Washington D.C.'s Newseum and now, a life-sized memorial in the spot where the Twin Towers stood in New York City. Yet amid all the tragedy, Americans found many ways to celebrate and remember the lives of those lost that day.More

McDonald's August sales rise less than analysts expected
USA Today
McDonald's revenue at restaurants open at least 13 months climbed 3.5 percent in August, led by strength in the U.S. and Europe. But the performance missed Wall Street's expectations, and shares of the world's biggest hamburger chain recently fell in premarket trading.More

Wal-Mart seeks boost from tech with labs
Advertising Age
Wal-Mart is in a bind. Its retail empire is based on a simple proposition — everyday low pricing — but recent surveys show price gaps between it and rivals have actually narrowed or disappeared. And, in fact, most of its shoppers no longer believe Wal-Mart has the lowest prices.More

Gas spending nears record level
Convenience Store News
Anyone with a car has suffered from sticker shock when pulling up to the gas pump this year, so it should be no surprise that U.S. drivers could spend a record $491 billion for gasoline this year. Gas prices may dip a bit over the next few weeks as the country switches its gas supply to winter blends — which are less costly to produce — but high gas prices are here to stay, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.More

No relief in sight
Supermarket News
Inflation and lingering economic sluggishness are likely to continue to confound the industry well into next year, according to a panel of seven industry analysts at Supermarket News's 16th annual Analysts Roundtable. "If the economy doesn't improve, the consumer will be in worse shape next year and rationality may not prevail the way it has so far this year," said John Heinbockel, managing director for Guggenheim Partners, New York. "I'm much more concerned about what happens when the clock turns to 2012."More

Google's Zagat acquisition: Yelp help for restaurants
All Business
Google's recent acquisition of Zagat, the iconic restaurant rating and review company, for a reported $125 million, was a sweet deal for founders Tim and Nina Zagat. But it may have left a bitter taste in the mouth of Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman.More

By invitation: AAFES Consumables working session announced for 64th Annual Convention
ALA
Invitations are being sent out to selected AAFES Consumables suppliers.

Where: Crystal Room E-F at the World Marriott Center in Orlando, Fla.
When: 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5.

Contact Bob Ellis for more information at bellis@ala-national.org.More

AAFES vendor information
ALA

Aileen Ledezma
Sales And Merchandise Manager (Softlines)
Fort Hood Exchange
254-532-7200, ext. 203
ledezma@aafes.comMore

AFAP update: General Officer Steering Committee reviews 35 issues
U.S. Army
The Army Family Action Plan is an incredibly important program that allows senior Army leaders to understand the needs of soldiers, civilians and families and continue to deliver on the promise of the Army Family Covenant. It's a grassroots effort by the Army community to identify what's not working, why it should change and how to fix it. More

'Serious people' are looking at new plan to merge Air Force Reserve, Air Guard
Defense Media Network
A proposal to combine the Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard is being circulated in the Pentagon and around Washington — and getting attention. Although Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz says the idea is too big to tackle amid today's other challenges, observers in Washington believe the plan will gain support on Capitol Hill, in the executive branch and among many in uniform.More

CSA card personal use unauthorized
U.S. Air Force
Policy changes concerning the use of the Air Force's new controlled spend account cards were spelled out in a policy letter from headquarters Air Force on Aug. 26. Effective immediately, personal use of the CSA is not authorized.More