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Amazon unveils sales up by a fifth but profits down by more than a third

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Amazon has unveiled sales up by more than a fifth, but profits down by more than a third.

The world’s biggest online retailer, which trades in the UK as Amazon.co.uk, last night announced net sales up by 22% to $16.07bn (£10.4bn) in the first quarter of its financial year, up from $13.18bn (£8.5bn) at the same time last year. International sales, which include the UK, grew by 16% to $6.7bn (£4.3bn).


But net income fell in the quarter to March 31 by 37% to $82m (£53m) from $130m (£84.1m) last time.

Innovations over the first quarter of the year include Amazon’s move to produce its own TV content, available for Prime members to view (pictured).

“Amazon Studios is working on a new way to greenlight TV shows. The pilots are out in the open where everyone can have a say,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com. “I have my personal picks and so do members of the Amazon Studios team, but the exciting thing about our approach is that our opinions don’t matter. Our customers will determine what goes into full-season production. We hope Amazon Originals can become yet another way for us to create value for Prime members.”

Analysts said the profit slide was only “superficially disappointing”. Dan Coen, director at advisory and restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper, said: “While Amazon’s results are superficially disappointing, we believe they reflect the effects of its long term growth strategy. Amazon’s revenue growth has slowed in the first quarter, but the internet giant’s move into areas beyond retail has helped increase profitability.

“Its margins jumped on lower shipping expenses and the expansion of more profitable new businesses. Also, increasing sales of digital content helped boost the retailer’s revenue in the first three months of the year. With its new TV venture, Amazon is clearly not afraid to step outside its comfort zone and be more than just an online retailer.”

The first-quarter results came as independent booksellers took a 150,000-signature petition to Downing Street, calling for the online retail giant to pay its fair share of corporation tax in the UK.

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