Highlights of the February 2018 Issue
AAFES Adds New VPs,
• DALLAS — The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) recently announced the appointment of a series of vice presidents (VP), and made a variety of executive shifts throughout the organization.
Among the new VPs is Tommy Ward, an outside hire with previous Exchange experience, who was appointed VP, Credit Operations, in the Credit Program Directorate, effective in November 2017. According to AAFES, this position was created “to provide strategic leadership in the development and execution of strategies for the overall Exchange Credit Program. ”
Another outside hire with previous Exchange experience, Brad Bingham, became VP, Financial Analysis and Budget, in the Finance and Accounting (FA) Directorate. He succeeds Ken Jacquin, who is slated to become VP, Controller later this year, to succeed Steve Donelson, who the Exchange said, is slated to retire in August. ...
DeCA Names Young, Nichols to Zone Management Billets
• FORT LEE — The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) named Steven Young as its Zone 21 manager. Young, who had been the store director at Vogelweh AB, Germany, succeeds Ronald Yoder, who in 2017 was named chief of Store Operations for the agency. In the interim, Jim Clark, deputy director of both the East and Central areas, served as acting Zone 21 manager until Young took over the position, effective Jan. 21.
In another zone manager change, Harry Nichols, the store director at NAS Oceana, Va., was recently named acting Zone 28 manager. He takes over the zone from Greg McGruder, who retired in December. Nichols also retains his store management duties. ...
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AAFES President and Chief Merchandising Officer Ana Middleton
Intensifying national brands is a strategy that has served the Army & Air Force Exchange Service well, and it is one that AAFES President and Chief Merchandising Officer (CMO) Ana Middleton is looking to extend in fiscal 2018. The Be Fit program, digital content enhancement, customer segmentation marketing and eCommerce also figure prominently in Middleton’s plans, along with an installation-wide approach to the customer on base.
On insights gained from AAFES’s holiday sales successes and the launch of the Veterans online Veterans online shopping benefit (VOSB).
Ana Middleton: I could not be prouder of the Exchange team and the results we drove this past holiday season! We followed a very intense path for the past four years to make VOSB a success and also to build out our eCommerce platform to support it. We succeeded and kicked off the selling season on Veterans Day, and the results speak for themselves.
With the approval announcement of the VOSB in January 2017, the planning for the launch shifted into high gear. We immediately engaged key suppliers to plan and prepare for the Veterans Day launch. My teams had a ‘Go Big or Go Home’ mentality, and our strategic risks certainly paid dividends. We are very grateful to our industry partners, suppliers and brokers for believing in our vision and fully supporting us during this highly competitive period.
Exchange overall holiday sales (Nov. 1 to Dec. 24) were up 9 percent, which beat industry growth of 5 percent for the same period. Even more exciting was our online growth for the same period: industry online increased an impressive 18 percent while shopmyexchange. com came in at an unprecedented 65-percent increase. Online sales for fiscal months November and December combined came in at $131 million versus $70.4 million during the prior year.
The most exciting aspect of our online sales growth this holiday season was that 80 percent of it came from organic growth — with about 20 percent coming from our new segment of Veteran customers. ...
Read More CMO FISCAL 2018 SALES PLANS/NEXCOM - ANA MIDDLETON INTERVIEW ...
MCX/Branch Head, Merchandising, Cheryl Lemmon
The Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) continues to be a valuable retail resource and support function for the Marine Corps. It is also an exchange service that is more focused than at any time in the last decade on catering to its “Core Marine” customer. The MCX’s Cheryl Lemmon, branch head, Merchandising, pulls back the curtain on the exchange service’s business mission to grow sales and enhance the assortment while helping Marines “get stuff done.”
E and C News: What strategies, tactics and new initiatives will MCX employ to reach plan goals in the new fiscal year?
Lemmon: One major initiative we launched last year is “STOW,” which relates to holding product in our regional distribution centers (RDC) to improve in-stocks and customer satisfaction. We identified key items/categories and worked with vendors to develop replenishment models to maintain adequate inventory levels in our RDCs.
Prior to our Logistics Transformation initiatives, we were mostly direct to store with some consolidation. Having product in our coastal locations readily available to ship to sites allows us to overcome issues such as long lead times, poor vendor fill rates, high unit minimum requirements and bulky items that are difficult to store in back rooms. We are also able to take advantage of seasonal and key-item buys in bulk, and allocate when goods are needed in the stores.
This initiative will also improve annual store turnover by reducing inventory levels held on site, keeping safety stock further upstream and accessible to all commands to adapt to unforeseen training and troop movements.
“The Last 50 Feet” is a holistic view of what our customers see and experience. Whether it be door-to-shelf, apparel processing, “5S” disciplines (based on the Japanese “sort”, “set in order”, “shine”, “standardize” and “sustain” methodology) in the back room, or making sure our windshield solution is acceptable at our gas stations, we are identifying roles and responsibilities upstream and downstream that impact delivering our brand experience to our customers. This is truly a collaborative approach between headquarters, our district team, and the commands we support. ...
Read more CMO FISCAL 2018 SALES PLANS/MCX CHERYL LEMMON INTERVIEW ...
VCS Chief Merchandising Officer Carey Filer
Providing branded items at a value is a core strength that has helped drive sales growth year after year in PatriotStores. For 2018, Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) Chief Merchandising Officer (CMO) Carey Filer and his team are also implementing a more analytical approach to merchandising efficiency that will allow them to rotate even more newness and variety into the assortment. But even with all the modern retailing bells and whistles now at VCS’s disposal, Filer emphasizes that store-level staff are still difference-makers in the customer experience.
On sales plans for fiscal 2018 …
Carey Filer: VCS fiscal 2017 year-to-date retail sales through December are an incredible 4.0 percent over the prior year. This provides a unique challenge in planning fiscal 2018; however, we do see opportunities in certain categories of business to drive sales in the upcoming year.
The overall goal is a 2.5-percent sales increase in fiscal 2018. Both men’s and ladies’ footwear continue to trend well, and we are projecting a 3.0-percent sales increase in 2018 driven by the active category.
Better4U healthy food products have been very successful, particularly in the snacks category, which is planned up 3.5 percent. The beverage and grocery business will drive sales as well, which is planned up 3.0 percent. Providing our customers branded products at a value price and continually rotating new assortments through a variety of sales promotions will drive both excitement and sales for 2018. ...
AAFES SPRING CANDY AND BEYOND
Signing, Pricing, and Merchandising Execution Set Department for Success
Randolph Exchange, JB San Antonio, Texas, Candy Department
Tammar Tracey, the Main Store manager of the Randolph Exchange, JB San Antonio, Texas, looks at her store’s candy department as one of its main sales cogs. Tracey, who is slated to be moving over to the Main Store manager position at the Fort Sam Houston Exchange next month, believes that program execution and a strong holiday season are key steps on the path to meeting category sales goals.
“Our goal is a 2-percent increase above the prior year based on sales trends and foot traffic,” she told E and C News, adding that 52-week totals through mid-December 2017 were more than $191,000.
“We hope to do this by executing our candy program with corporate standard signing, maintaining correct pricing, establishing crisp merchandising standards, and adhering to a ‘first in, first out’ policy for freshness.”
When it comes to highlighting individual products, Tracey said, “We have the ’Impulse Item of the Month’ program, which features different food items each month, and candy is often in the program.”
Tracey said the impulse item is merchandised with a sale sign at each register, and the store also creates displays featuring the product. “We involve associates with contests and reward the one with the highest sell of the featured item,” she said. ...
Click Here for AAFES CANDY AND BEYOND - TAMMAR TRACEY ...
From “Food Bars” to “functional” beverages, the Navy Exchange Service Command’s (NEXCOM) 143 convenience store locations are working hard to keep up with fast-changing patron preferences. Mini-Marts cover not only patrons’ well-established quick-stop shopping needs but also subcategories such as fresh foods and sports nutrition that have more recently earned a place in the convenience assortment.
The demands on and for this type of retail outlet are increasing, however, and the Navy Exchange plans to stand up an additional 60 stores with more convenience-driven fresh food sections known as “Fresh Marts,” in 2018.
Joe Marchese, NEXCOM’s Mini-Mart program manager, reported that fiscal year-to-date sales at Mini-Marts through Nov. 30, 2017, were $185.40 million, a 3.55-percent decrease from the $192.22 million in sales generated during the same period the prior year. ...
Read more NEXCOM MINI-MARTS - "THE MOST FREQUENTLY SHOPPED STORES ON BASE ...
With 253 planograms between wine and spirits combined, the Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) relies on its category captains to maintain order and currency of product, and handle the ebb and flow of their respective areas so that depleted vintages and deleted items are replaced with new offerings, and patrons’ regional and local preferences are respected.
According to Debbie Scher, NEXCOM wine and spirits buyer, the exchange service’s category captain for wine is Constellation Wines U.S. in CONUS, while E&J Gallo is responsible for OCONUS. NEXCOM’s category category captain for spirits is Advantage Sales.
“Our category captains do a great job of working the flow and layout to mirror each location’s needs,” Scher said. “Our assortments are standardized, but sales by each location definitely play into flow, number of facings, et cetera. We share floor plans, they make site visits and assist with resets to get a hands-on feel for how their product actually works.” ...
Read more NEXCOM WINE AND SPIRITS ...
- Exchanges and Commissary
FISCAL YTD NOV. 2017 TOTALS
- AAFES Direct and Concession Sales YTD November Fiscal 2017 vs. Prior Year Excluding Gas
- NEXCOM CONUS/OCONUS Share of Direct Sales Excluding Gas Nov. 2017
- CGX Direct Sales Fiscal 2017 vs. Fiscal 2016 YTD Through November Including Gas
- VCS Sales by Category YTD Fiscal 2017 vs. Prior Year
- DeCA November 2017 Top Sales Stores Versus Prior Year
- Military Exchanges Impact of Gasoline on FYTD November Direct Sales
- AAFES Fiscal YTD November 2017 Month by Month Direct Sales Including Gas, vs. Prior Year Month
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
- IN THE NEWS:
- New DeCA Price Optimization Solution Targets Budget Offsets
- NEX ‘Fresh Mart’ Categories to Expand
- Long-Awaited Camp Humphreys, Korea, Commissary Debuts …
- MCX Promotes Lemmon To Merchandising Branch Head as Roberson Retires
- AAFES Breaks Ground for Replacement Okinawa Exchange
- New Korea Commissary Elevates Shopping Experience
- DeCA Plans Sidewalk Sale in Lieu of Spring Case-Lot Sales
- MCX’s Nuzum to Retire
- 'Master Chief' Helps Disabled Veterans
- NEXCOM 'A-OK' Reward Program Gives Back
- Navy Exchanges and Navy Lodges Team Up for Homecomings
- Energy, Soda and Innovation Compete for Subcategory Spotlight - Jeff Baker, NEXCOM’s non-alcoholic beverages buyer
- Variety in the Assortment - Marissa Tinoco, the Exchange’s
Snack Avenue buyer