independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Amazon posts decline in profits

Amazon is now stretching well beyond online retailing

Online retailer Amazon has reported a dip in profits as the cost of investing in new projects offset a further rise in quarterly sales.

The world's largest online retailer, which sells Kindle devices and services, earned 82 million US dollars (£53.3 million) in the first quarter of the year, down 37% on a year earlier. Revenues were 22% higher at 16.1 billion US dollars (£10.5 billion).

The Seattle-based company has been investing much of its income in enhancing its distribution networks, while it soon plans to debut original TV programming on its website.

It is running introductory pilots for 14 TV shows for anyone in the United States, UK. and Germany to watch. Viewers will get to help decide which shows get additional episodes.

Founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said: "The pilots are out in the open where everyone can have a say.

"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."

Currency fluctuations have also weighed on Amazon's results as a weak yen translates to fewer dollars on sales in Japan.

For the current quarter, Amazon expects revenues of between 14.5 billion US dollars and 16.2 billion US dollars (£9.4 billion-£10.5 billion). The midpoint of this range is lower than the 15.9 billion US dollars (£10.3 billion) that Wall Street analysts had expected.

Amazon hit the headlines last year after it was accused of "immorally" minimising UK tax bills along with Starbucks and Google in a damning report by the Public Accounts Committee.

While Amazon's UK website reported a turnover of £207 million for 2011, its tax expense was just £1.8 million, the report said.

Press Association

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