Jul 1, 2018

Go deeper: Amazon has met its match in Home Depot

Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Home Depot plans to invest $1.2 billion over the next five years to increase its supply chain and distribution abilities in an effort to keep disruptors like Amazon out of its home improvement market, reports the Wall Street Journal's Jennifer Smith.

The big picture: Despite being the number one home improvement retailer, Home Depot recognizes the power of e-commerce giants like Amazon that have a hand in nearly every market. So far, the company's plan to dominate the home improvement market and keep competitors at bay has been working.

What they're doing: To reduce labor costs, Home Depot looks for convenience factors, like faster deliveries, a better online shopping experience, and stores that help customers find items quicker with a faster check out rate.

By the numbers:

  • The $1.2 billion investment will go toward 170 new distribution facilities in the U.S., which will allow 90% of the country to have same-day or next-day delivery by 2020, writes Smith.
  • The investment is part of a larger $11 billion plan announced in December 2017 to deflect Amazon and Lowes.
  • Home Depot hired 1,000 people so far this year to beef up its technology teams in software engineering, user experience design, network engineering, and product management, reports Recode's Jason Del Ray.

Full disclosure: Amazon still surpasses Home Depot as an international business power. Amazon's revenue was nearly $178 billion in 2017 in while Home Depot's revenue was roughly $101 billion.

  • Yes, but: Home improvement is one market in which Amazon has struggled to break through. Most of the time, people need home improvement products immediately — and the names, sizes, and product specifics can be hard to search online for customers who are not sure what they need, GlobalData retail managing director Neil Saunders tells Axios.

The state of play:

  • Home Depot's stock price is up 40% just this year, the opposite of continuing horror stories in retail.
  • Nine out of 10 people in the U.S. live within 10 miles of a Home Depot location.
  • 45% of Home Depot's online orders are picked up in stores and 85% of online returns are completed in stores, Home Depot's executive vice president of U.S. stores, Ann-Marie Campbell, said at an investor and analysis conference.
  • The company has grown its online sales by $1 billion each year.

Go deeper

Sign of the times: A pro-Warren super PAC

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren at a rally in Nevada. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

A group of women progressives who back Sen. Elizabeth Warren has formed Persist PAC, a super PAC airing pro-Warren ads starting Wednesday in an effort to boost her performance ahead of Saturday's crucial Nevada caucuses, a spokesman told Axios.

Why it matters: Warren has spoken adamantly against the influence of unlimited spending and dark money in politics. But these supporters have concluded that before Warren can reform the system, she must win under the rules that exist — and that whether she likes it or not, their uncoordinated help may be needed to keep her viable through this weekend's contest and into South Carolina and Super Tuesday.

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Pentagon policy chief resigns amid reported discord with Trump

John Rood. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

John Rood, the Pentagon's top policy official, will resign from his post on Feb. 28, CNN first reported and President Trump confirmed.

The state of play: CNN said Rood "was perceived as not embracing some of the changes in policy the White House and senior Pentagon officials wanted," such as peace talks in Afghanistan with the Taliban and a decision to cut back on military exercises with South Korea as the president courted North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Coronavirus cases rise, as warnings of global pandemic grow

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

We may be "at the brink" of a global pandemic, warns a top U.S. public health official, as cases continue to spread despite containment efforts. Meanwhile, the global economy is being affected, including the tech manufacturing industry.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,000 people and infected over 75,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 136 new deaths since Tuesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health