ALA Executive Briefing
Nov. 30, 2012

Army at crossroads, facing budget cuts and uncertainty about future role
The Washington Post
These are tough times for the Army. The service is facing big budget cuts and hard questions about its future role in a Pentagon defense strategy that emphasizes air and naval power over ground forces. It also is still fighting a messy war in Afghanistan and dealing with the mental wounds of combat.More

Odierno's take on issues facing the Army
Army Times
As many as 16,000 soldiers and 5,000 officers face involuntary separation, but more jobs will open to female soldiers. Pre-deployment training will intensify, and time between permanent change-of-station moves may extend. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno covered these and other hot topics in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with Army Times. More

Pentagon leaders testing new decision-making process
Defense News
Pentagon officials are currently crafting a 2014 budget request, which will further incorporate elements of a new military strategy DoD unveiled in January. Gen. Martin Dempsey wants to use "national security interests as a sharper decision-driver than just ways and means that are currently in the strategy," said James "Sandy" Winnefeld during a Nov. 27 speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington.More

Report challenges key Pentagon spending assumption
As the U.S. military grappled with budget cuts over the past year, one thing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made clear was the Pentagon must avoid reductions in training and maintenance that would lower the force's readiness to fight. But a report recently released by a Washington think tank challenged that assumption, concluding that a short-term cut in readiness funding could free up cash to develop weapons and equipment needed to be ready in the future.More

Report: US shoppers' grocery purchases fall short of dietary guidelines
Progressive Grocer
A recent report measuring the extent to which U.S. consumers adhere to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with their food-at-home purchases, as well as the impact of selected demographic and market factors on food purchase healthfulness, has found that Americans have a long way to go in terms of picking stores' most nutritious items.More

Beef prices to slow after 6.5 percent rise; total food costs to boom
Los Angeles Times
Across the board, food costs in the U.S. will have boomed as much as 3.5 percent this year, with as much as a 4 percent jump anticipated for next year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Last year, prices ballooned 3.7 percent after ticking up 0.8 percent in 2010. More

Wal-Mart puts pressure on grocery rivals with Neighborhood Market
Colorado Springs Gazette
Even when Wal-Mart does something small, it promises to have a big impact. By introducing its smaller Neighborhood Market grocery stores in Colorado Springs to go with its Supercenters, the world's largest retailer isn't just increasing its presence in the region, but is putting its foot down on the throats of competing groceries, local commercial real estate experts say.More

The past and future of America's biggest retailers
It's an anniversary that most Americans can celebrate — the birthday of the big-box store. Discount shopping as we know it began 50 years ago. In 1962, enterprising retailers invented Wal-Mart, Target and Kmart. These stores changed the way we shop and the way we think about price. Historian Marc Levinson, author of The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America, talked to NPR's Linda Wertheimer about what happened all those years ago, and how the stores will continue to evolve in the Internet age.More

Retailers state their case
Women's Wear Daily
Retailers aren't always on the same page when it comes to the best collections of a given season. (Subscription required.)More

How much jingle will there be in this year's shopping season?
Crain's Chicago Business
Call it the season of mixed messages. National Black Friday projections looked rosy, with sales and foot traffic in stores projected to jump as consumers shake off years of economic unease. But in Chicago, a Crain's survey found that most residents planned to spend the same as or less than last year. And despite the onslaught of shoppers, brick-and-mortar stores will be squeezed as they try to match prices offered by online competitors. More

Americans, Chinese swoon for 'Made In USA' label
MarketingDaily via MediaPost
On the heels of a rancorous election that frequently touched on Americans' hostility toward Chinese imports, it's probably no surprise to hear that 80 percent of American consumers prefer to buy goods made in the U.S.A. What is surprising, however, is that a new report from the Boston Consulting Group finds that Chinese prefer American-made products, too. More

Strong online growth seen this holiday shopping season
E-commerce is expected to grow strongly this holiday season, spurred by early online deals, the rise of mobile devices and more free shipping offers. Holiday sales will likely increase 16.4 percent from a year earlier, outpacing total retail sales, which are forecast to grow about 3.9 percent, according to analysts at Jefferies & Co.More

The economics behind the 'new norm' of holiday shopping
Retails' BIG Blog
When it comes to the economy, there's no question that millions of people have had their share of the good, the bad and the ugly. Years of stubbornly high unemployment, fluctuating home values, stagnant income growth and unpredictable retail sales continue to drive the conversation.More

Holiday trend information provided by NRF's Holiday Headquarters
National Retail Federation
The National Retail Federation's Holiday Headquarters is THE place for you to find the latest trends for the 2012 holiday season. Shopping tips, retail sales outlook, a Holiday Survival Kit and much more can be found here.More

Mail for military has early holiday deadlines
The Journal Gazette
Procrastinators beware — there are only a few more weeks left before Christmas gifts being sent to military men and women serving overseas won't make the trip in time. To avoid paying extra shipping fees, the U.S. Postal Service recommends sending overseas packages within the next week or two. The final deadline for gifts to arrive overseas before Christmas is Dec. 17, said Mary Dando, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service in Indianapolis.More

Shoppers spent record $1 billion online on Black Friday
Black Friday was a bright day for Internet retailers, as online sales for the key shopping day surpassed $1 billion for the first time. Bargain hunters spent $1.042 billion online the day after Thanksgiving, a 26 percent increase of last year's Black Friday, according to new figures released by market analyst ComScore.More

Macy's CEO: Black Thursday? Thanks, but no thanks
Surging demand from bargain hunting consumers forced more retailers to consider opening their doors earlier — a phenomenon that department store giant Macy's had no intention of joining, CEO Terry Lundgren told CNBC. "I hate to say never about anything ... but as long as I'm around, I've got a problem with [opening early], because I have committed to always being at the opening and I've done it all my entire career," said Lundgren.More

Sears: Black Friday shoppers have a totally different attitude now
Business Insider
This year's Black Friday shoppers had a totally different attitude and were more relaxed than years past. Because stores opened on Thanksgiving, shoppers weren't camping overnight and aggressively waiting in front of stores before Black Friday, said Ron Boire, president of Sears and Kmart. More

Thanksgiving weekend sales better than last year
The Washington Post
More people hit the stores this past Thanksgiving weekend than they did last year, as big-box retailers opened their doors earlier than ever on Thursday. The average consumer spent $423 — roughly $25 more than they did last year — between Thursday and Sunday, while total spending increased nearly 13 percent to an estimated $59.1 billion, according to a recent survey the National Retail Federation released.More

The shrewd shopper carries a smartphone
The New York Times
Retailers are trying to lure shoppers away from the Internet and back to the stores. The bait is technological tools that will make shopping on the busiest days of the year a little more sane — and give shoppers an edge over their competition.More

Survey: More shoppers than ever to made the most of Cyber Monday deals
National Retail Federation
Despite record levels of online spending over the Black Friday weekend, savvy shoppers still had plenty of appetite for one-day only deals that retailers had lined up for Cyber Monday, as 129.2 million shoppers said they’d head to retailers' websites on Cyber Monday. More

Tobacco companies must admit deception on products, ads
Convenience Store News
Major tobacco companies have been ordered by a federal judge to admit they lied about the dangers of cigarettes — and use their own money to pay for the public advertising campaign. The ruling sets out what might be the harshest sanction to come out of a case that the Justice Department brought in 1999 accusing the tobacco companies of racketeering.More

A robust weekend for e-retail
Internet Retailer
Online shoppers over the holiday weekend spent more than $4.3 billion, up 21 percent from 2011, comScore says. Spending on Monday exceeded $1.46 billion, making the day the biggest ever for e-commerce.More

To tweet or not to tweet: Twitter executive shares tips for customer engagement
Retail's BIG Blog
While many small and mid-sized retail companies are trying to figure out how to foster brand engagement in a meaningful way via social media, retailers of all sizes know that social platforms like Twitter are playing an increasingly larger role in their interactions with shoppers. Still debating whether to tweet or not to tweet as a brand?More

CGX Black Friday weekend sales!

We had a phenomenal Black Friday weekend ($ in thousands):
TY LY % Var
Friday 1,627 1,011 +61%
Saturday 605 502 +21%
Sunday 262 239 +10%
3 Days 2,494 1,752 +42%

Departments with the largest increases were Small Appliances +422%, Shoes +239%, Computers +165%, Toys +79%, Electronics +77%, Ladies Apparel +64%, CG Logo Giftware +56%, Spirits +55%, CG Apparel +44% and Mens Apparel +40%.


Sarah Malbon Mikus
Director of MerchandiseMore

Troy Booker is retiring

Dear suppliers and vendor partners,

This is just a quick note to advise you that I have decided to take advantage of an early retirement opportunity The Exchange is offering associates.

I've received the necessary approval letter and selected Dec. 21, 2012 as my retirement date.

There are tasks I need to complete over the next four weeks which involve many of you and the products you represent. I will contact you for information/assistance to complete these various goals.

A replacement hasn't been identified at this time. I will let you know who you can direct inquiries to once I'm advised who will inherit the responsibility of managing my assigned categories.

Thanks for your support!

Troy L. Booker
Senior Buyer

Ramping up: Companies turning to Suffolk for distribution
The Suffolk News-Herald
As 2012 draws to a close, elected officials and economic development officers in Suffolk continue to ride a wave of openings in what has become the city's fastest-growing business sector: warehousing and distribution.More

NEX changes price matching policy
The Navy Exchange Service Command has announced that it has revised its Price Match Policy for NEXs around the world. The NEX Price Match Policy guarantees that NEXs will match any brick and mortar retailer's advertised price within the local market area on any identical in-stock item.More

Robins formally opens revamped base exchange today
The Warner Robins Patriot
A ribbon was cut at 11:30 a.m. The Northside High School chorus sang. And giveaways were offered throughout the day as the Robins Air Force Base Exchange formally unveiled its remodeled and reorganized shopping floor. The on-base department store has undergone a six-month rehab that has brought "rebranding" and new dimensions, according to General Manager Anthony Ventura.More

Electronics ordered online can be picked up at exchanges worldwide
Military Times
Just in time for the holidays, authorized exchange shoppers have a way to ship items containing lithium batteries overseas, such as computers, cameras, watches and other electronic products.More

Exchange recognized as top 25 Military Friendly Spouse Employer
Public Affairs
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service recently announced it has been designated as one of the top 25 Military Friendly Spouse Employers by Military Spouse Magazine. The sixth annual list recognizes those companies which hire spouses of active duty service members and make an effort to develop workforce development policies that acknowledge the unique challenges of military life.More

November ushers in Military Family Appreciation Month
November is Military Family Appreciation Month — the start of a month-long celebration of honoring the commitment and sacrifices of our nation's service members and their families. There's a lot to appreciate about military families. There's a passion and attitude among them to give it their all. Whether volunteering in their communities or with family readiness groups, military family members balance this commitment along with their careers, children, education and daily lives. More

Navy Lodge Little Creek — Fort Story breaks ground on expansion
America's Navy
Navy Lodge Little Creek — Fort Story, Va., held a ground-breaking ceremony Nov. 19 for its 11,000 square foot, 26-room expansion. Currently, the Navy Lodge has 100 rooms available for guests. The expansion project is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.More