retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Washington Post had a long and fascinating story over the weekend about the military commissary system in the US, which provides on both domestic and foreign bases giant, government-run supermarkets with "bright, wide aisles ... stocked with seemingly every brand of every food product available in America — Heinz ketchup, Oscar Mayer bacon, Lay’s chips — all sold at close to wholesale prices."

Which sounds pretty good ... except that some military advisors have suggested that the domestic commissary system be shut down, that such a move could save taxpayers as much as $1 billion a year. They argue that for-profit retailers could match the prices offered by the commissaries to military personnel (Walmart already has agreed), and that the vast majority of bases have major shopping centers near them.

But there is considerable resistance to such a plan, and the Post story makes clear how while the commissaries may be an unusual way of doing business, the fight about their existence is very much Washington business as usual.

Fascinating reading .... and you can read the entire piece here.
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