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Amazon sees brisk sales, profits are still skimpy

Amazon posted its 51st consecutive quarter of double-digit sales growth, with September 2001 being the last time it posted sales growth less than 14 percent.
By Ananth Baliga   |   April 24, 2014 at 6:01 PM   |   Comments

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SEATTLE, April 24 (UPI) -- Amazon continues to see double digit sales growth, but reported another quarter of skimpy profits, as the e-commerce giant continued to spend on new initiatives.

The company posted a net income of $108 million, or 23 cents a share, as comparedwith $82 million, or 18 cents a share, a year earlier. This was on target with what analysts were expecting. Sales zoomed 23 percent to $19.74 billion, better than expectation of $19.43 billion. Amazon itself had predicted sales to be between $18.2 billion and $19.9 billion.

Despite expanding strongly into digital media and hardware, a vast majority of its revenue continues to come from the sale of electronics and other items, accounting for $13 billion. Sales of digital media products grew sharply, up 8 percent to $5.5 billion. Amazon has seen strong competition in this segment from Apple, Google and other tech companies.

As is the case every quarter, Amazon did not release any figures for its $99 Amazon Prime membership and sales of its Kindle line of tablets.

Amazon has been investing heavily in its network of shipping warehouses, its cloud-computing offering Amazon Web Services and new hardware such as the Fire TV set top box. This has put a strain on the company's revenue, leaving slim profits.

For the current quarter the company expects to sales to be between $18.1 billion and $19.8 billion, and will post an operating loss between $55 million and $455 million.

The last quarter saw the e-commerce giant turn into a video content provider, which was boosted by this week's announcement that Amazon Instant Prime Video will stream popular HBO shows.

After seeing a small uptick, Amazon shares were mostly flat in after-hours trading.

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