A commissary primarily sells foodstuffs, like a grocery store. Commissaries also sell tobacco, health and beauty aids (HBA) and some household items, such as paper towels and batteries. A commissary on a military installation usually consists of a single main sales store. Commissaries are funded with appropriated (tax-payer) dollars.
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) is the Congressionally funded organization that overseas the operation of all military commissaries worldwide. Commissaries are recognized as the number one non-pay military benefit. Merchandise is sold at cost plus 5% surcharge applied at the register, providing the patrons a savings of up to 30%. ALA member products are represented in all of the 271 commissaries on military bases worldwide and commissary sales generate more than $5 billion on an annual basis.