On the wire:
ALA president and coalition head blasts Congressional Budget Office report and warns of risk to critical benefit for veterans and military families
CBO report on military resale system restructuring and price hikes dangerously flawed' military resale system is vital veteran/military family employer that saves military households thousands each year
Patrick Nixon, president of the American Logistics Association, criticized a "dangerously flawed" report by the Congressional Budget Office on military resale system consolidation.
During testimony before the Subcommittee on Personnel of the House Armed Services Committee, Nixon challenged CBO military resale system findings, arguing that by implementing the suggested price hikes to military families, re-structuring of systems and changing the status of thousands of Federal workers commissaries and exchanges would not only fail to achieve the predicted savings, but would also put the millions military families and veterans who rely on this critical benefit at risk.
Veterans, military families and other personnel save nearly $4 billion in savings through the network of stores operating on military bases, with an average family of four saving more than $7,000 each year. "That $7,000 savings goes directly to the bottom line of military households. At a time when there's been more than a 70 percent increase in food stamp redemption in these stores, it's real money in the pockets of military families and veterans. For some families, it's a college education, car or house or payment."
Nixon cited a compassionate case for keeping the promise of a benefit for military people, a economic case of a system that works for taxpayers and military consumers, and a military mission case that directly contributes to the mission of the Department of Defense. "When you look beyond the headlines, the CBO findings suggest unraveling an extremely effective system that has worked for the taxpayer, the military and the Department of Defense for over 150 years."
"The military resale partnership represents the best of the private sector and public sector coming together to aid offers to our military families and veterans," said Nixon. "It's a formula that works and should be a model for other Government programs instead of being a candidate for dismantlement." "The military resale system strengthens military households and our nation's economy by providing valuable savings and critical employment opportunities," added Nixon. "We also realize that in tough economic times, defense programs are competing for resources and in addition to the compassionate arguments made for these benefits, we want to be able to illustrate their tremendous mission contributions and financial and economic impacts."
The military resale system is also an extremely powerful job engine, creating more than 30,000 well-paying jobs to veterans and military families. Not only are these jobs portable from base to base, but they also support first lady Michelle Obama's Joining Forces initiative. Just this past October, at a ceremony held at Langley Air Force Base, the president and Mrs. Obama announced that the ALA member companies supporting these programs would add another 25,000 jobs for veterans and their family members.
Nixon is also the president of the Coalition to Save our Military Shopping Benefits, a group advocating for the preservation and patronage of commissaries and exchanges. The Coalition has been analyzing the report to model and quantify the economic value and multitude of benefits that are provided to the Dept. of Defense mission military personnel, and the U.S. economy through the military resale system.
While the military resale system is the most efficient and effective military benefit and one of the only benefits that increases its value to the Dept. of Defense the more it is used it still faces numerous threats from ongoing efforts to balance the budget, the Deficit Reduction Panel, looming sequestration, and various individual and committee measures taking place in Congress.
"In many cases these assaults have at their core what we believe to be a dangerously flawed report by the Congressional Budget Office that is fraught with flawed assumptions," said Nixon. "We unequivocally challenge this report, its assumptions and findings. There is cost, a major cost, to their suggestions and a multitude of other factors that should be considered by CBO and policy-makers before taking precipitous action."
As part of its proposed plan to consolidate the military resale system, the CBO has proposed grocery vouchers an option that Nixon called ineffective because military personnel would have to spend those funds at higher cost grocery stores and the vouchers would exclude major segments of the current beneficiary population including retirees and other groups.
"The CBO's grocery allowance would only be provided only to active-duty enlisted personnel, completely disenfranchising all the veterans, officers, Medal of Honor winners and other deserving men and women who rely on this critical benefit," said Nixon.
"We recognize that all defense programs need to be examined for efficiencies and share in the need to reduce spending. But, this examination must consider all of the factors that make this equation work." Nixon said that the system is inherently efficient and business-based and uses it's resources judiciously. Military exchanges are lean and efficient organizations while the Defense Commissary Agency has already greatly reduced its operating budget through a variety of initiatives, including nearly $1 billion in annual cost savings. Over the past five years, costs of these programs have remained constant, while the cost of most other Defense programs has doubled and tripled.
Nixon also cited the resale systems support for causes including the Fisher House, Wounded Warriors, the National Association of Military Families, the USO and many other causes.
Nixon urged subcommittee members to continue their support for funding of commissaries and exchanges, and to work to expand eligibility to even more veterans and across the nation.
For more information, please visit:
Web tool to boost industry veteran and military family hiring program
The American Logistics Association, a trade group of companies doing business with military exchanges and commissaries, is launching a website to bolster its pledge to hire 25,000 veterans and family members. The ALA and its member companies made this 25,000 hiring pledge at an October 21, 2011, ceremony held at Joint Base Langley-Eustis where President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama announced the new Joining Forces initiative where organizations such as the U. S. Chamber of Commerce and a multitude of retailers and manufacturers are joining forces to aid veterans seeking jobs. MORE
This truly is the elephant in the room:
It is interesting to follow the discussions in this article as a military "heavy" stat like South Carolina begins to wrestle with the possibility of mandatory defense cuts. The real dilemma is in the realization that nothing has been done to prepare for them.
Some lawmakers look for way out as defense cuts near
Read the Full Story
The New York Times, Jonathan Weisman
A special select committee was assigned to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. If it failed, the cuts would come automatically, half to national security, half to domestic programs. It failed, and the reckoning is approaching.
House passes bill that would block pay raises at Defense Dept.
Read the Full Story
The Washington Post, Joe Davidson
Developments that strike at the federal workforce have been coming quickly lately. In the past few days, House Republicans proposed funding the nation's student loan program with federal retirement money, the House approved legislation that would deny proposed pay raises for more than half the government's civilian employees and a union complained that a Pentagon policy leaves its civilian workforce "confused and anxious."
Unofficial realignment continues:
Air Force says Eielson move will save $227 million
Read the Full Story
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Jeff Richardson
A newly released Air Force report justifies the transfer of an F-16 squadron from Eielson Air Force Base, saying the move will save more than $200 million while maintaining an effective military presence in Alaska.
Leaders lobby for MacDill to house tankers
Read the Full Story
Tampa Tribune, Howard Altman
A battle to bring as many as 36 refueling jets to MacDill Air Force Base has resulted in the rarest of accomplishments: a show of regional unity.
Back to P.I.?:
US troops can use Clark, Subic bases
Read the Full Story
Philippine Star, Jaime Laude
American troops, warships and aircraft can once again use their former naval and air facilities in Subic, Zambales and in Clark Field in Pampanga as long as they have prior clearance from the Philippine government, a senior defense official said.
Patrick B. Nixon
President, American Logistics Association
House passes bill that would extend pay freeze for some civilians
Government Executive Share
A spending bill the House recently approved includes language that would effectively extend the two-year pay freeze for some civilian employees. The White House pledged to veto the measure. More
House passes veterans funding bill
The Associated Press via Yahoo News Share
The Republican-controlled House recently approved legislation to boost health care spending for veterans and provide more money to compensate record numbers of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans claiming service-related disabilities as they return home. More
Rep. McKeon rips Obama, Sen. Reid for ignoring sequestration
The Hill Share
House Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., recently ripped into President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for failing to try to stop $500 billion in automatic cuts to Defense spending, in his most pointed remarks yet about the threat of sequestration. More
War funding reversal adds new sequester targets
Bloomberg Government via Early Bird Share
Defense programs once considered exempt from automatic budget cuts recently became vulnerable, when the Pentagon said funds for the war in Afghanistan and operations in Iraq aren't exempt from sequestration. Including war funds will reduce the size of the across-the-board defense reductions to 10 percent from 11.5 percent, even as it exposes to cuts some procurement programs that once were considered protected. More
Federal workers' numbers decline
USA Today Share
The federal government has started to trim its workforce, ending several years of explosive and controversial growth that came at a time when private companies and state and local governments slashed jobs. More
US to shift most of naval fleet to Pacific by 2020
Agence France-Presse via Yahoo News Share
The United States will shift the majority of its naval fleet to the Pacific by 2020 as part of a new strategic focus on Asia, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta told a summit in Singapore. The decision to deploy more ships to the Pacific Ocean, along with expanding a network of military partnerships, was part of a "steady, deliberate" effort to bolster the US role in an area deemed vital to America's future, said Panetta. And he insisted the switch in strategy was not a challenge to China, saying it was compatible with the development and growth of the fast-growing Asian power. More
The cost of Obama's food tax and regulation proposals
U.S. News & World Report Share
In this new era of food austerity, people are cutting back on the food they love. Much to the chagrin of children nationwide, bakery foods such as donuts, cookies, breads, candy, and store-made desserts are no longer landing in our grocery carts. Coupon use is on the rise and brand loyalty is a thing of the past as the majority polled said they are switching to store and generic brands and would try a new product if a coupon was offered. People are even getting more organized by preparing grocery lists ostensibly to cut down on spontaneous purchases. More
Kroger puts pork suppliers on notice
Progressive Grocer Share
The Kroger Co. is urging its pork suppliers to step up their efforts to find an alternative to gestation crates for housing pregnant sows. Kroger reports that, over the past few months, it has reviewed the opinions of animal welfare experts and other experts regarding the use of gestation crates for pregnant sows and has concluded that there are many ways to humanely house sows. More
Key dates, uses for plastic grocery bags
ABC News Share
With Los Angeles preparing to become the largest city in the nation to ban plastic grocery bags, here is a short history of the ubiquitous sack. More
As temperatures rise, so do grocery and gas prices
Deseret News Share
The cost of groceries crept up in the Salt Lake Valley this month. Despite significant price cuts on a number of supermarket staples, a cart full of popular items, a tank of gas and a weekend outing was just under $2 more expensive than in early May, according to the Deseret News' monthly shopping spree. More
Buying in bulk: Which food items to buy at warehouse stores
The Huffington Post Share
Everyone loves a deal, especially so when it comes to grocery shopping. The allure of saving without using coupons has lured many consumers over to warehouse stores like Costco, BJ's and Sam's Club. These megastores make you think you're saving money by buying items in bulk sizing, but are you really getting a deal? More
Does eating organic food make you a jerk?
Fox News Share
A new and very provocative study, "Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Morals? Organic Foods Reduce Prosocial Behavior and Harshen Moral Judgments," by Dr. Kendall J. Eskine from Loyola University New Orleans, indicates that buying and consuming organic foods can actually induce self righteousness and selfish behavior. What influences someone to go organic? Organic foods in general cost more than conventionally grown foods, so why pay more for already expensive food? Some controversial explanations are provided by the author of the study. More
The following commissary items were posted to the ALA Website as of 10 a.m., 7 June 2012.
DP #14, Update #1 and Alaska Promotion & Shipper Quantities.
Thanksgiving/Christmas – Dry Grocery Program.
Thanksgiving/Christmas – Baking Program.
Thanksgiving/Christmas – Chill/Freeze/Pre-packaged Meats Far East & Alaska Quantities.
Suncare, Far East & Alaska Quantities #3.
NOTICES TO TRADE
12-87, Store Reset Dates – Ft Benning.
12-88, Store Reset Dates – Robins AFB.
12-90, Store Reset Dates – Luke AFB.
12-91, Store Reset Dates – Scott AFB.
12-92, Household Cleaners.
2012 Reset Schedule updated 31 May 2012.
Adds/Changes/Deletes for Week 12-23.
Guard & Reserve On-Site Sale Schedule updates. CRV Values.
SAVE THE DATES
June 19, 2012: Congressional Caucus, Washington, D.C.
August 21–23, 2012: Hawaii Conference & Food Show. Registration is now open on the ALA Website.
Oct. 1–3, 2012: 65th Annual Convention, Omni Shoreham, Washington, D.C.
A discount retailer even Wal-Mart envies
The Wall Street Journal Share
The old ditty goes, "I found a million-dollar baby in a five-and-ten-cent store." Sadly, inflation has done away with that once-successful retailing concept. But its modern counterpart, the dollar store, is thriving. And today, Dollar General Corp., a $16 billion baby by market value, is looking like the best of the breed. (Subscription required.) More
Ikea, Costco, other retailers know how to get you to buy more
National Post Share
Persuading a customer to buy is the holy grail of retail. It may be the lighting, or an artificial scent introduced to put people in a particular mood to purchase a particular product. At a time when retail experts are capitalizing on mobile apps and digital technology, retailers are also finding new, less visible ways to tweak browsers into buyers, and buyers into even bigger spenders. More
Jean mutation: How red, pink and mustard took over
The Wall Street Journal Share
It's hard to miss the season's most prominent denim trend: blinding color. Potent shades of lavender, pink, green and yellow, once reserved for children's clothing, are showing up on jeans in fashionable store windows. They are hitting the streets on men, as well as women and getting the full treatment in the spring/summer fashion press from Teen Vogue to Elle magazine. (Subscription required.) More
Best Buy announces new gaming promotions
Kantar Retail Share
At the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, Best Buy announced new incentives for Reward Zone Gamers Club members. Reward Zone Gamers Club members can still upgrade their free memberships to "Unlocked" status by paying $14.99/year, and @Gamer magazine, which Reward Zone Gamer's Club Unlocked members receive for free, is now available in a digital version. More
What's hot in retail
Retail's BIG Blog Share
The month of May brought encouraging industry news, as retailers enjoyed reports of another month of growth in April. Last month also marked NRF's annual DC fly-in, which united hundreds of retailers from across the country with their Congressmen and closed the doors one of NRF's most innovative campaigns yet. More
New York plans to ban sale of big sizes of sugary drinks
The New York Times Share
New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity. More
Pizza Hut tries the sandwich market again
The New York Times Share
"When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie,' the song goes, "that's amore." But there is little love lost when a big maker of pizza pie gets hit in the eye with the success of sandwiches. More
JC Penney brings back some promotions
The Wall Street Journal Share
J.C. Penney Co. is backpedaling on its nonpromotional stance, with plans to add more Friday sale days as it licks its wounds from an abysmal first quarter. The retailer is expected to start its sales on some additional Fridays and to keep merchandise marked down until it is bought. The move, with five such Friday sales planned this year, is extending the "Best Price Friday" program that Penney already holds on the first and third Fridays of the month. (Subscription required.) More
Sears refashions some stores in push to connect with customers, bolster sagging sales
Chicago Tribune Share
At its annual meeting, new merchandising chief Ron Boire said Sears is experimenting with new store designs in an effort to better connect with customers — part of its plans to get back to basics. But analysts are skeptical of those vows, noting that revamping Sears' aging retail stores has never been high on the company's to-do list. More
More competition could cut into Best Buy's lucrative Geek Squad service
Minnesota Public Radio News Share
Best Buy sees an especially needy — and lucrative — market for its Geek Squad tech services in the aging baby boom generation. But the retailer, which is seeing competitors eat into its consumer electronics sales, also faces increasing competition from rivals offering tech help. More
Wal-Mart takes aim at Best Buy with ads
Star Tribune Share
Best Buy Co. Inc.'s plans to close 50 big-box stores by the end of the year is creating, at least temporarily, a consumer electronics hole that Wal-Mart is eager to fill. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retail giant has taken out full-page newspaper ads, including in the Star Tribune, urging shoppers to patronize Wal-Mart stores in markets where Best Buy stores will soon shut down. More
Gov. Chris Christie calls on Congress for e-fairness solution
Retail's BIG Blog Share
Recently, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urged Congress to support Sen. Lamar Alexander's Marketplace Fairness Act to give states the option to decide how to deal with the current sales tax collection loophole. Gov. Christie's statement is another strong conservative voice in the growing chorus for Congressional action. More
Amazon accepts laptops and netbooks in trade-in program
Kantar Retail Share
After including CDs as eligible items for its Trade-In Program in early April, Amazon has added laptops and netbooks to the list of electronics that it will buy back from customers in return for gift cards. More
Shady car dealers targeting military buyers
It's unfortunate. Shady car dealers often target military customers. Unethical salespeople see them as easy marks. Holly Petraeus, director of the Office of Servicemember Affairs at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, warns military personnel to be on guard when they walk onto a car lot. More
Screens get a place at the table
The Wall Street Journal Share
The appetizer order is promptly taken. The check is presented and processed the moment you are ready to pay. The children are entertained throughout the meal. But it isn't the waiter you have to thank for this efficient dining experience. A growing number of restaurants including Chili's Grill & Bar, Applebee's and Chevys Fresh Mex are using or testing small, interactive computer screens at the table. More
Staying on your customers' friends list
Retail Customer Experience Share
Many of us strive to be No. 1, but when it comes to social circles, the first task is to make it into the 150. That is the maximum number of relationships the average human brain can manage, according to Robin Dunbar, a professor of Oxford University. Almost 20 years has passed since Dunbar's Number was introduced, and technology has vastly changed our lives, but recent research shows the human capacity for relationships has not changed. More
Chocolate candy sales top $20 billion
The Gourmet Retailer Share
The $20 billion U.S. chocolate candy market, which is mature, differentiated and demanding, is challenging for marketers of chocolate products seeking to distinguish themselves from the competition, according to "Chocolate Candy in the U.S." report from Packaged Facts. More
Starbucks to upgrade food by buying artisan bakery chain
Los Angeles Times Share
In hopes of upgrading its pastry offerings, Starbucks Coffee Co. plans to spend $100 million to acquire the San Francisco artisan bakery Bay Bread and its La Boulange brand. The company's pastries are made using fresh and locally sourced ingredients favored by its French founder, Pascal Rigo. More
Retail industry sets sights on consumers with tablets
Mobile Commerce Press Share
While tablet mobile devices may be new to consumers, the technology has successfully established a foothold with a large number of people. In the U.S. alone, it is expected that more than 60 million consumers will own some type of tablet device by the end of the year. The retail industry has taken note of this trend because of the apparent popularity of mobile commerce and the effectiveness of mobile marketing. More
7-Eleven cracks top 10 best-perceived grocery chain list
Convenience Store News Share
7-Eleven is one of the top 10 best-perceived grocery chains in the eyes of consumers who consider themselves healthy, coinciding with the May launch of the Fanta Sugar-Free Mango Slurpee Lite, reported YouGov BrandIndex, the daily consumer perception research service of brands. 7-Eleven is ranked No. 9 on the list, beating out chains such as Winn-Dixie, Wild Oats, A&P and Stop and Shop. More
Smartphone users doing more mobile shopping
In yet another case diminishing the "phone" part of smartphones, online research company comScore recently reported that a monthly average of 19 million Americans, or 17.4 percent of all smartphone owners, made purchases from their smartphones in February, March and April. More
Save the dates!
June 25: ALA New York Chapter Golf Event
Click here for registration form and directions.
Aug. 21-23: Hawaii Conference & Food Show
Click here for registration form and more information.
Operation Give Back Mission Summer
Timing: June 29-July 1
POS will be sent to the Industry POC's by June 15 for placement in the stores two weeks prior to generate excitement. Any donations, gift cards, raffle items, etc. can be mailed to the attention of the base GM. Please put Operation Give Back on the mailing so they know exactly what it is for.
This is a very high profile event with our customer and going to a very good cause. Need to be sure Industry is supporting this event at these 10 bases. All companies supporting will be credited in Industry publications.
Please let Marcia Doyle know what support you or your manufacturers are offering (i.e. gift cards, tastings, donations) at email@example.com so she can make sure no one gets left out.
U.S. Navy Share
Navy Child and Youth Programs is now accepting applications for its 2012 Navy Teen Summer Camp Scholarship Program. CNIC will fund all-expenses paid summer camp opportunities for Navy teens worldwide. Funding will support airline and ground transportation, camp registration, meals and miscellaneous camp insurance. Please encourage all eligible teens to apply for these camps. To apply for the 2012 Navy Teen Summer Camp Scholarship Program, each teen must complete an individual application by no later than June 15. Download the application from navymwr.org/, and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Teens are required to write two short narratives about the adventures they want to experience and rank their selections. Notification of selections will be made no later than June 22. For more information, email email@example.com or call 901-874-6897. More
Military spouses thanked with sweet reception
U.S. Army Share
A poster on a stand thanked military spouses for their ongoing support. A ceremonial cake on a small table was ready for cutting, but one important ingredient was missing. "Are you a military spouse?" Army Community Service director Sue Paddock asked a woman shopper. She wasn't but a military spouse arrived shortly and agreed to cut the cake for a photo opportunity. More