DeCA: We’ll add private labels but sustain brand savings
Commissary shoppers will see no drop in savings on brand-name items even as the Defense Commissary Agency begins to offer better prices through its own private-label products, said DeCA Director Joseph H. Jeu.
“We will be maintaining overall savings on branded products, so if patrons choose not to purchase a private label they will still be at least as well off as they were previously,” Jeu explained. “Patrons who do choose to purchase private label will see their cost for the basket of goods they purchase come down further.”
Jeu’s assurances appear timely as patrons and advocates grow concerned over the rapid changes planned to store operations. They see DeCA as unfamiliar with developing and marketing private-label products. Meanwhile, some suppliers complain of their prices being challenged, their shelf space reduced or their products deleted from commissary shelves.
“Our priority is preserving the value of the benefit, which essentially is the savings customers see when they shop,” said Eileen Huck, deputy director of government relations for National Military Family Association. “But we also care about the customer experience in terms of number and quality of products on shelves.”
“There seems to be a whole lot of change going on,” Huck said. “Some [supplier] relationships, once they’re undone, are we going to be able to build them again? At what point does this inevitably go too far to do that?”
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