SEATTLE, July 23 (UPI) -- Amazon.com reported a narrower-than-expected loss Tuesday in its second quarter as sales grew faster than analysts had forecast due to heavy discounting.
The Seattle-based online retailer also said it expects to post a pro forma profit this year and that it will begin expensing stock options in 2003. Coca-Cola said last week it would begin expensing the cost of all of its stock option plans later this year.
In its earnings report, Amazon.com said outstanding employee stock options totaled about 50 million shares. Amazon.com did not provide projections for 2003 and the impact on stock-option expenses.
Shares of Amazon.com lost 95 cents, or 6.13 percent, to close Tuesday at $14.55 on volume of 11.2 million shares traded on the Nasdaq stock market. The stock was off more than 7 percent to $13.48 in after-hours trading.
After the market closed Tuesday, Amazon.com reported a second-quarter loss of $94 million, or 25 cents per share, compared to a loss of $168 million, or 47 cents, in the year ago period.
Excluding certain items, Amazon.com said it lost $4 million, or 1 cent per share. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call expected pro forma numbers for Amazon.com to show a second-quarter loss of 6 cents a share on sales of $789 million.
"I'm especially pleased with the outstanding job our U.S. Books team is doing -- posting another quarter of 20 percent year-over-year book unit growth, up from 15 percent growth this past fourth quarter," said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, in a statement.
Bezos said lower prices and expanded selection also helped Electronics, Tools and Kitchen revenues increase. In June, the company announced its fourth significant price decrease in the past year.
Going forward, Amazon.com said it expects to post sales between $780 million and $830 million in the third quarter. Amazon.com also said it expects to post pro forma operating income between $8 million and $17 million.
For the full year, the company expects to post a pro forma profit.
(Reported by Chris Sieroty, UPI Technology Correspondent, in Washington.)