Special to GUIDON
Savings percentages for commissary patrons worldwide was 26 percent during the third quarter of fiscal 2019, from April through June, according to a Defense Commissary Agency report.
The latest savings report is part of an increase in global and U.S. percentages trending over the first three quarters of fiscal year 2019, a time span from Oct. 1, 2018, to June 30.
Congress requires that DeCA maintain savings at levels that are reasonably consistent with the fiscal year 2016 baseline savings level of 23.7 percent.
Higher savings of the representative market basket of goods is driving the increase.
Specifically, the grocery department is the primary driver of savings for commissaries in four U.S. geographic regions, and the fresh department is the main catalyst for three U.S. regions, said retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, DoD special assistant for commissary operations.
A third party contractor sends out auditors to collect pricing for a representative market basket of goods surveyed at about 25 percent of U.S. commissaries each quarter.
“Another factor driving higher savings percentages is our ability to use variable pricing to keep prices competitive on items our customers purchase the most,” Bianchi said.
Patron 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 patrons are saving money when they shop at their commissary.
For first quarter of fiscal year 2019, overall global savings were 25.4 percent, an increase of 1.3 points from the same stores measured during the 2016 baseline. Overseas savings were 43.3 percent, down 0.7 points; and U.S. savings were 21.9 percent, up 1.3 points.
During the second quarter of fiscal year 2019, overall global savings were 25.7 percent, an increase of 1.6 points compared to the same stores measured during the 2016 baseline.
Overseas savings were 43.8 percent, down 0.4 points; and U.S. savings were 22.2 percent, up 2.2 points.
During the third quarter of fiscal year 2019, overall global savings were 26 percent, an increase of 2.8 points from the same stores measured during the 2016 baseline.
Overseas savings were 42.7 percent, down 1.4 points; and U.S. savings were 22.7 percent, up 3.1 points.
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.
For information on savings by region, click on the PDF at the following link: https://www.commissaries.com/our-agency/newsroom/news-releases/deca-reports-q3-fiscal-2019-patron-savings-figure-26.
(Editor’s note: this article was submitted by the Defense Commissary Agency’s corporate communications office.)