Amazon posts record-shattering profit thanks to pandemic sales

Despite the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world, Amazon is making more money than ever.

Amazon reported its profit doubled since last year to a staggering $5.2 billion, as the e-commerce giant’s earnings report blew past expectations. Net sales increased 40% to $88.9 billion and net profit cruised to a new record, according to the earnings report released Thursday.

“This was another highly unusual quarter, and I couldn’t be more proud of and grateful to our employees around the globe,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

During the second quarter of 2020, Amazon “increased its grocery delivery capacity by over 160%” and tripled its grocery pickup locations. Customers responded, with online grocery sales tripling in the second quarter compared to the same time in 2019.

Amazon also spent more than $4 billion on coronavirus-related expenses like protective equipment for employees and the cleaning of Amazon’s warehouses, where some workers have criticized Amazon for not doing enough to keep them safe.

Bezos also said Amazon has paid $500 million in hazard pay bonuses to workers.

“We’ve created over 175,000 new jobs since March and are in the process of bringing 125,000 of these employees into regular, full-time positions,” he added in the statement. “And third-party sales again grew faster this quarter than Amazon’s first-party sales.”

Bezos and Amazon have faced harsh criticism for their treatment of third-party sellers, with allegations that Amazon uses its sellers’ data to develop competing products. On Wednesday, Bezos joined the top executives from Facebook, Google, and Apple for an antitrust hearing on Capitol Hill.

Bezos couldn’t confirm or deny the allegations, saying Amazon was still investigating the accusations and tried to downplay Amazon’s power over the retail marketplace. These record-breaking earnings numbers seem unlikely to support Bezos’ assertion that Amazon is less powerful than it appears.

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