Amazon Sees 71 Percent Profit Boost from Holidays

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Online mega-retailer Amazon.com has announced its financial results from the fourth quarter of 2009, and the holidays were good to the company: Amazon reported net income of $384 million for the fourth quarter—a 71 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2008—on net sales of $9.52 billion. Overall, the retailer saw a net sales increase of 37 percent compared with the same quarter a year ago, excluding favorable impacts from changes in foreign exchange rates. Amazon’s sales were buoyed bit sales of its Kindle ereaders…although nobody really knows how much: the company remains tight-lipped about how many Kindles it is actually selling, and Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos noting only that “millions” have gone out the door.

“Millions of people now own Kindles,” said Bezos, in a statement. “And Kindle owners read, a lot. When we have both editions, we sell 6 Kindle books for every 10 physical books. This is year-to-date and includes only paid books—free Kindle books would make the number even higher.”

Amazon reports that revenue from sales of DVDs, CDs, books, and other media increased to $4.68 billion during the quarter, an increase of 29 percent. Electronics and “general merchandise” saw a big increase, however, jumping 60 percent to $4.61 billion. Revenue from sales in North America jumped by 37 percent in the quarter, but Amazon did even better internationally, with an increase of almost 49 percent outside the United States.

The figures are impressive, given that the tight economy put a pinch on many consumers during the end-of-year holidays. And Amazon is forecasting great things moving forward, saying it thinks its first quarter earnings will beat analysts expectations.

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