DeCA reports fiscal 2019 customer savings of 25.6%

DeCA reports fiscal 2019 customer savings of 25.6%

by Kevin L. Robinson
Defense Commissary Agency

FORT LEE, Va. – Commissary overall worldwide customer savings exceeded 25 percent for fiscal 2019, reported the Defense Commissary Agency.

Worldwide savings is a combination of U.S. (including Alaska and Hawaii) and overseas commissary savings figures. Savings overseas is nearly double what it is in the states.

The latest savings report reflects a continuing annual rise in savings from the fiscal 2016 baseline global savings of 23.7 percent to a fiscal 2019 mark of 25.6 percent. Global savings dipped to 23.32 percent for fiscal 2017, but rose to 23.9 percent in fiscal ‘18.

Congress requires that DeCA maintain savings at levels reasonably consistent with the fiscal 2016 baseline.

For fiscal 2019, the overall U.S. savings level was 22.3 percent, up 2.1 points from the fiscal 2016 baseline U.S. savings of 20.2 percent. Overseas shoppers experienced fiscal ‘19 savings of 42.2 percent, down 1.9 points from the 2016 baseline of 44.2 percent. The savings drop overseas is attributed to a lower cost of living allowance (COLA) in fiscal ’19. (See fiscal 2019 quarter by quarter percentages in table 3 below)

The grocery department is the main driver of savings for commissaries in three U.S. geographic regions (South Atlantic, North Central and Hawaii/Alaska), and the fresh department leads the way for four U.S. regions (New England, South Central, Mountain and Pacific), said Rear Adm. (retired) Robert J. Bianchi, DOD special assistant for commissary operations.

“Providing a savings percentage that’s nearly 2 percent above our congressional mandate is a tribute to the strength of the commissary benefit,” Bianchi said. “That’s good news for our service members and their families who depend on us to help boost their quality of life.

“I commend the collaborative work between our DeCA and industry teams that drives the sustainment and improvement of our overall savings goal,” he said.

Bianchi also attributed DeCA’s savings surge on the agency’s use of variable pricing through its Your Everyday Savings (YES!) program that keep prices competitive on items commissary customers purchase the most. To date there are more than 900 items in the YES! program.

Through the YES! program, DeCA lowers prices year-round on trending items that commercial retailers often reduce temporarily as “loss leaders” to attract customers into their stores hoping they’ll buy their higher-priced products.

Customer savings figures specific to each geographic area indicate how much, on average, a patron could expect to save on grocery purchases in comparison with local grocers in that area. DeCA measures savings for a region so it can better monitor how much commissary patrons actually save in the geographic area in which they shop. The agency also periodically checks local prices at major retailers near commissaries to see how DeCA pricing compares in order to ensure that commissary customers are saving money when they shop their commissary.

Because the cost of living varies by geographic region, Congress requires DeCA to report on savings regionally. DeCA compares prices with up to three commercial grocers, including one supercenter, in the local area of each commissary in the United States. The savings comparison measures 38,000 items at a regional level and local prices on about 1,000 products, which are representative of a shopper’s typical market basket.

The fiscal 2019 patron savings versus the fiscal 2016 baseline are provided as follows (percentages rounded to the nearest tenth):

For information on savings by region, click here to view the tables.

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