Federal Supply Service Self-Service Stores Can Be Improved

PSAD-77-60: Published: Apr 14, 1977. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 1977.

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The General Services Administration (GSA) maintains self-service stores, which are retail outlets that sell a wide variety of commonly used office, janitorial, and maintenance items. Federal agencies, members of Congress, and eligible government contractors are permitted to shop at the stores.

The self-service stores are not providing government agencies with efficient service and necessary supplies. At times, essential store items are not available, so that customer agencies purchase the supplies from commercial sources at higher prices. The GSA inventory records do not accurately show the value of the stores' inventories. Shortages can occur without detection by store management. Although the number and sales volume of self-service stores have been increasing, GSA audits of store operations have been decreasing. Self-service stores do not provide many supplies needed by customer agencies, because many store orders to GSA depots are assigned low priority, causing the stores to compete for depot goods with agencies that are also store customers. Customer agencies do not have adequate control over their employees' purchases made at self-service stores.

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