A Midyear Update from Director/CEO Tom Shull: Rising to the Occasion
While 2020 has been unprecedented, Exchange associates have stepped up to meet unexpected challenges and deliver on its “We Go Where You Go” promise to Warfighters and their families. As the pandemic spread worldwide, the Exchange team implemented one of the most significant and aggressive organizational transformations in our 125-year history, leaning forward to provide a safe, secure and sanitized safe haven to protect the force and each other.
As many retailers shuttered stores, furloughed or laid off employees and, in some instances, filed for bankruptcy, the Exchange pivoted to continue serving the military community and ensure the benefit remains strong and relevant for many years to come.
While retail, services and restaurants were impacted by shelter-in-place orders and physical distancing guidelines, ShopMyExchange.com orders increased 88% vs. prior year. Shoppers are relying on flexible options that allow them to be safe while getting what their families need.
Innovation and agility are defining the new retail norm as we reimagine delivery of the hard-earned Exchange benefit. Since the pandemic began, our team has:
- Fulfilled 130,000 buy online, pick up in store orders.
- Completed nearly 10,000 curbside pickup orders.
- Provided more than 18,000 personal shopper orders for quarantined troops.
- Served 93,000 grab-and-go meals for Department of Defense Education Activity students.
- Driven an additional 48,0000 fleet miles to deliver COVID-19 supplies.
- Distributed 440,000 units of PPE (masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer) to our store and warehouse personnel.
- Donated approximately 4,000 hours of leave to our teammates.
- Extended more than 200,000 hours of leave to associates impacted by COVID-19.
Besides keeping military communities safe, the Exchange’s No. 1 priority is the long-term health of the organization and the viability of the benefit we are so honored to provide the military communities we serve. To this end, the Exchange has implemented a plan to conserve $400 million by the end of this fiscal year. Cash conservation is being driven by reductions in inventory, capital expenditures and selling, general and administrative expenses. Delaying permanent changes of station and curtailing travel are also driving needed savings.
As the third and fourth quarters approach, this holiday season will be unlike any other, with customers expecting physical distancing, contactless shopping options and facilities that set the standard for cleanliness. Exchange merchandising, marketing, services and food and region teams are executing campaigns to fully address shoppers’ expectations while generating excitement with a focus on the savings and safety that only we can provide.
The 12 Weeks of Savings campaign moves up the traditional holiday shopping period, launching Sept. 4 and running through Black Friday weekend. Shoppers can enjoy weekly Black Friday prices in store and online without having to wait until November and can also avoid traditional holiday shopping crowds by taking advantage of buy online, pick up in store and curbside pickup contactless options.
During the holiday season and beyond, the Exchange will continue to provide safe, secure and sanitized access to the products and services authorized shoppers need, working in lockstep with installation leadership as a partner in readiness and resiliency.
As we head into the second half of the year, military communities are counting on us. We are ready to rise to the occasion.
Thank you for your hard work during an unprecedented year. It is truly an honor to serve with you.