AAFES expands its reach

DALLAS Fueled by sales at each of its retail outlets, the Department of Defense actively is expanding its Army & Air Force Exchange Service outlets, the military retailer recently announced.

The organization has completed 123 major facility projects over the past five years, including six in 2009, exceeding $1.1 billion in capital expenditures.

“With a slumping economy, shoppers have been asking more questions about capital improvements,” stated AAFES SVP real estate Mike Gividen.“We want our customers to know we are investing in our facilities more than ever before.”

As a nonappropriated government entity, funds to build new or replacement AAFES facilities come entirely from the sale of merchandise and services. While the majority of earnings generated are returned to Air Force Services and Army Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs for quality of life efforts, historically about one-third is reinvested into exchange operations to build new facilities or update existing stores.

“There is a direct correlation between patronage at the exchange and resulting capital improvement projects,” said Gividen. “AAFES shoppers are essentially AAFES’ shareholders and our goal is to be our customers’ first choice. As such, we have a responsibility to properly re-invest in our facilities to provide a pleasant, first-class shopping experience.”

By the end of 2010, AAFES will have opened the doors to five new shopping centers, including the world’s largest exchange – a sprawling 490,000-sq.-ft. multi-use retail development at Fort Bliss, Texas. In addition to the new facilities, AAFES plans to remodel 24 exchanges in 2010.

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