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Amazon and eBay report rising first-quarter sales

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Amazon has announced a 15% rise in sales in its first quarter, while eBay announced sales 4% up on last time.

Net sales at Amazon, which is the UK’s largest retailer through its website, hit $22.72bn (£15.01bn) in the first quarter of its financial year, to March 31, up from $19.74bn at the same time last year. Operating income of $255m was 74% up on the same time last year, but the company was in the red at the bottom line, with a net loss of $57m, from net income of $108m at the same time last year.

The figures come after a quarter in which Amazon launched UK fulfilment centre tours (bookable through and the Amazon Fire TV Stick became the most pre-ordered device through in the website’s history.

In the US it also launched innovations including the Dash Button, which Prime customers can put in their home to reorder frequently used household items. Some 18 brands, from Bounty to Huggies, are currently available through the service. Meanwhile, it started to make the ecommerce use of the internet of things a reality with the launch of the Dash Replenishment Service (DRS) that enables connected devices to order goods from Amazon when supplies run low. A coffee maker that had DRS built in, for example, would be able to order more coffee beans. Early adopters of DRS including Whirlpool, Brother and Brita.

The subscription service Amazon Prime, which offers free delivery and access to free entertainment streaming, marked its 10 year anniversary, while its one-hour delivery service for Prime members expanded to more US cities.

In India, the company launched a two to four hour delivery service, Kirana Now, which uses small and medium-sized businesses to deliver to customers of, and in China it launched on Tmall.

The figures came a day after eBay Inc, owner of US marketplace eBay , a significant force in the UK ecommerce market, reported its first quarter figures. Revenues of $4.45bn (£2.9bn), in the three months to the end of March, were 4% up on the same time last year, while net income hit $626m, representing growth of 127% since the company declared a loss of $2.3bn at the same time last year.

The figures come as the company prepares to split its eBay commerce platform business from its PayPal payments business.

“We had a strong first quarter, with eBay and PayPal off to a good start for the full year,” said eBay Inc. president and chief executive John Donahoe. “I feel very good about the performance of our teams at eBay and PayPal. Each business is executing well with greater focus and operating discipline as we prepare to separate eBay and PayPal into independent publicly traded companies. We are moving forward with clarity and speed, with a smooth separation expected in the third quarter. We are deeply committed to setting up eBay and PayPal to succeed and to deliver sustainable value to our shareholders.”

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