|AAFES store at Dyess Air Force Base|
near Abilene. [Dallas Morning News]
AAFES officials say there has been a sustained decrease in demand for single copies, with sales of all magazines at exchange facilities down 18.3% between from 2011 to 2012.
“According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, digital magazines continue to expand their presence in the industry,” Army Lt. Col. Antwan C. Williams, AAFES public affairs chief, said in a statement. “Like their civilian counterparts, exchange shoppers' increased reliance on digital devices to access content virtually has resulted in a sustained decrease in demand for printed magazines.”
Consistent with its mission to provide quality merchandise and services to its customers at competitively low prices and to generate earnings which provide a dividend to support morale, welfare and recreation programs, Williams said, AAFES is adjusting its stock assortment to align offerings with industry counterparts.Among the magazines that are being dropped are some adult titles such as Playboy, Penthouse, American Curves and Tattoo; the exchange says sales of such so-called adult sophisticate titles at AAFES stores have declined 86% since 1998.
“The decision to no longer stock the material is a business decision driven by the time, money and energy required to facilitate buying habits, combined with decreasing demand,” Williams said.
“Magazine sales are on a sustained downward trajectory due to the proliferation of digital delivery,” he added, “and the exchange, as a government entity, is operating in a fiscally constrained environment that requires it to shrink expenses while growing sales and earnings.”The AAFES, which has more than 40,000 civilian and military employees, runs 131 main department stores, permanent and temporary malls, convenience stores, service stations,vending, 72 movie theatres and 1,590 quick serve restaurants, such as Taco Bell, Burger King and Starbucks. It has sales of $9.2 billion annually, making it the 43rd largest retail organization in the U.S. (The U.S. Navy operates its own separate chain of NEX stores.)