Veterans will soon get to shop tax-free online with AAFES

by Josh Funk
Associated Press

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. — Hey veterans, you can soon shop tax free.

Starting later this year, all honorably discharged veterans, no matter their branch of service, will be eligible to shop tax-free online at the Army & Air Force Exchange Service with the same discounts they enjoyed on base while in the military. It's the latest way in which the organization is trying to keep its customers as the armed forces shrink and airmen and soldiers buy more for delivery.

Adding 13 million potential new customers will give extra ammunition to the group that runs the stores on U.S. Army and Air Force bases worldwide as it fights Amazon and other retailers for veterans' online shopping dollars.

Since hiring its first civilian CEO five years ago, the Exchange has upgraded the brands at base stores to include items like Disney toys, Michael Kors fashions and other top names. Like private stores, it's also imposed tighter cost controls, reduced the number of employees and improved people's experience on the website.

"The intent is to really beat Amazon at their game because we have locations literally on the installations," said CEO Tom Shull. "We're leaning toward not just ship-from-store but pick-up-from-store and eventually deliver-from-store."

The Exchange is adding shipping centers within its stores to allow it to send products directly from those locations more cheaply and quickly. Twenty-six stores now ship orders, and that will expand to 55 by the end of the year.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.478974

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