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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

4 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

6 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.