New price study validates commissary’s savings mission

| January 17, 2014 | 0 Comments
 SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A new study validates that commissaries, such as the one located here, really do save customers an average of 30 percent.


SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A new study validates that commissaries, such as the one located here, really do save customers an average of 30 percent.

 

Kevin Robinson
Defense Commissary Agency

FORT LEE, Va. — Commissary savings are now being measured against a wider range of retailers that sell groceries, and the comparison confirms the value of the benefit, according to the Defense Commissary Agency’s 2013 price comparison study.

For the first time, the expanded comparison survey allowed DeCA to look beyond traditional grocery stores to include price comparisons with club stores, drug stores, dollar stores and discount department stores.

This comparison validates the current 30.5 percent savings military members and their families enjoy when they shop their commissary, said DeCA Director and CEO Joseph H. Jeu.

Commissary savings percentages are calculated based on an annual market basket study. Procedures differ somewhat depending on geographic location.

In the continental United States (CONUS), DeCA employs a comparison study, over a 26-week period that ended June 22, 2013, which uses the Nielsen’s database of commissary and industry front end sales volume on 37,000 grocery items with a Universal Product Code. Pricing comparisons for meat and produce department items in CONUS are accomplished through in-store audits at 30 randomly selected commissaries to compare them with commercial retail stores within commuting distance.

In Hawaii and outside CONUS (Alaska, the Far East, Europe, Guam and Puerto Rico), DeCA conducts additional in-store audits, using a broad sample of grocery, meat and produce items. Savings percentages compare commissary prices, which include DeCA’s 5-percent surcharge, to commercial prices with any applicable sales taxes included.

Last year, with a price survey that focused on traditional grocery retailers, commissary savings were at 31.2 percent. This year’s 30.5 percent savings figure comes from DeCA’s ability now to access Nielsen’s “all outlets combined” database, which allows the agency to compare its prices to more retailers — discount department stores, club stores, drug stores and dollar stores — that also sell grocery items.

“When word got out on Sept. 30 that we were closing because of the government shutdown,” Jeu said, “our customers flocked to their stores Oct. 1, making it our largest sales day — $30.6 million, more than double our normal daily sales volume — of the 21st century.

Those numbers underscore the fact that our patrons understand and value the savings they get from their commissary benefit.”

Just the Facts
Fast facts about commissary savings include the following:
•At 30.5 percent savings when compared to commercial stores, military commissaries saved their customers more than $2.6 billion.
•For every dollar of taxpayer funds invested in the commissary benefit, authorized shoppers received $2.08 in savings.
•Commissaries redeemed nearly 100 million coupons in fiscal year 2013 for a customer savings of about $91 million.
•DeCA ranked sixth among U.S. retailers in coupon redemptions in fiscal year 2012.

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