Exchanges (Box Stores)

Department Stores on Military Bases
An exchange is a department store on military bases. It provides a full range of quality merchandise and services at uniformly low prices to the military community regardless of where they are stationed throughout the world.

Military exchanges are categorized as joint military activities. They are self-funded and pay operating costs from revenues. Exchanges return earnings to customers through payments to Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) activities and investments in new or renovated exchange facilities. Since exchanges receive only a limited amount of taxpayer dollars, they are listed as a non-appropriatedĀ  fund (NAF) activity; that is they do not rely on taxpayer dollars. The subtle difference is that a different set of laws and regulations govern their internal operations.

Exchange sales total more than $10 billion with over 3,000 department stores worldwide.

Retail Outlets When Military Deploys
When military members deploy to remote locations around the world, the exchanges travel with them, deploying outlets that offer products and services to the troops. Only exchanges operate retail outlets in deployed areas. The exchanges also manage the sale of military y clothing and the operations of retail stores on ships afloat.

Regional Events
Other benefits of membership include topic specific meetings focused on helping you expand your business with the military resale activities. In addition to regional meetings, we have two national meetings each year to update members. One meeting is focused exclusively on the Defense Commissary System and discusses their marketing and promotion strategies, operational plans, and exploring with members industry best business practices. The second meeting is held the beginning of the government's new fiscal year and provides each of the retail commands (Commissary, Exchange, Veterans Canteen Services and Morale Welfare and Recreation) with an opportunity to connect with ALA Members to discuss their strategic initiatives and marketing plans for the new fiscal year.

These events are in addition to ALA's Annual Convention, ALA's Annual Congressional Caucus, as well as government and industry Round Tables to get you up-close and personal with the buyers and decision makers for each of the resale activities.

Are You Ready For Military Resale?
Applying for membership to our Association can be completed by submitting your application using our online form or by contacting our Member Support Team at

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