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Can Home Depot compete with Amazon?

Mark Kauzlarich/Getty Images

The home improvement giant has announced a plan to dramatically expand its online presence, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Pledging $1.2 billion in the next five years towards e-commerce, the chain is seeking to bolster online sales—currently only 6.7 percent of total revenue—in a world where Amazon can deliver a garden hose or electric drill to your door within hours.

Home Depot will build 170 distribution facilities across the country, ultimately vowing to deliver to 90 percent of U.S. customers in one day or less. Mark Holifield, the company’s executive vice president of supply chain and product development, recently told a conference in Atlanta that the expansion will “re-engineer” Home Depot “to ensure that we are prepared for the future in retail.”

The “future in retail” is often synonymous with Amazon, the world’s largest internet retailer, which so dominates e-commerce that it recently went in the opposite direction and opened its very first brick-and-mortar store in Seattle in January. But competing with Amazon will be tough work: Home Depot competitor Lowe’s recently launched an app and has reported major growth in retail, but e-commerce sales still made up only 4.6 percent of Lowe’s total revenue in the first quarter.