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Amazon's sales grow at fastest rate in a decade

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Amazon’s international sales showed a strong rise as the pureplay retailer unveiled the best income growth it had achieved in a decade. Sales from its six sites outside North America, which includes the UK website, rose by a headline 51%, in line with the growth rate across the company. At the same time, however, profits were down as the company invested in growth.

In the second quarter of its financial year, to June 30, the company said overseas sales, which also includes sites in Germany, Japan, France, China and Italy, rose to $4.51bn (£2.76bn). When exchange rate changes were taken out of the equation, the growth rate stood at 36%.

The results came as Amazon’s worldwide net sales rose by 51% to $9.91bn (£6.06bn). Net income, however, fell by 8% to $191m (£116.87m), down from $207m (£126.68m) at the same time last year as the company put money into extending capacity both in infrastructure and fullfillment, in turning physical products into digital ones and in creating new business areas.

Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com, said: “Low prices, expanding selection, fast delivery and innovation are driving the fastest growth we’ve seen in over a decade.”

In a call with analysts, Amazon's chief financial officer Thomas Szkutak said: "This is the strongest growth we've had from a quarterly perspective year-over-year and over 10 years. And as a result of that, as we look forward, there's a requirement for a lot of capacity."

Bezos said Kindle 3G with special offers, whose screensaver is sponsored by AT&T, had become the bestselling of its ebooks at a time in a quarter when sales growth of Kindles had started to accelerate.

Innovations over the period included Kindle textbook rental for students and the ability for those selling on Amazon can now list their stock across all its European websites, Amazon.co.uk, .de and .fr, through one single seller account, making their inventory more widely available. Those using Amazon for third-party fulfillment can also have stock dispatched from one European warehouse to customers across the continent.

Additionally, Amazon Prime customers can now stream TV shows from CBS, while the company also launched MyHabit.com, a members-only fashion website.

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