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Amazon reports 24% rise in profits

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Sales at Amazon were up 18% to US$4.9bn in the first three months of 2009, the retailer has announced. And, when the impact of negative foreign exchange rates is subtracted, sales were up by 25%. Amazon has also seen a 24% rise in net income to $177 million helped by better than expected sales of the Kindle 2 ebook reader.

International segment sales, including the retailer’s UK, German, Japanese, French and Chinese sites, were $2.31 billion, up 15% from the first quarter of 2008. “Excluding the unfavourable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, International sales grew 28%,” says Amazon.

“We’ve gotten better every year, but there is still a lot of improvement that can be made,” commented CEO Jeff Bezos. “Everywhere we look, we find that we’re doing every operation in suboptimal ways.”

The company is also predicting a positive second quarter with net sales expected to grow between 6% and 17% on the same period last year. Operating income, though, is likely to drop by as much as 49% because last year’s second quarter had a one-time gain from the sale of the company’s European DVD rental business.

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