Journal of Commerce--Home improvement retailer Lowe’s, facing higher shipping costs and weakening sales, is ramping up a dramatic increase in online sales operations and shipping more goods directly to customers from stores and its distribution centers.

The company expanded its items available online 73 percent over the past year, Lowe’s Chairman, President and CEO Robert Niblock told Wall Street analysts Monday on releasing the company’s earnings along with a downbeat assessment of the economy.
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