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Amazon results beat expectations after record holiday sales

Online retail giant Amazon said sales jumped to a more-than-expected $170 billion in the last quarter of 2023, after a record-beating holiday season
Online retail giant Amazon said sales jumped to a more-than-expected $170 billion in the last quarter of 2023, after a record-beating holiday season - Copyright AFP/File Kazuhiro NOGI
Online retail giant Amazon said sales jumped to a more-than-expected $170 billion in the last quarter of 2023, after a record-beating holiday season - Copyright AFP/File Kazuhiro NOGI

Online retail giant Amazon on Thursday said sales jumped to a more-than-expected $170 billion in the last quarter of last year, after a record-beating holiday season.

“This Q4 was a record-breaking holiday shopping season and closed out a robust 2023 for Amazon,” CEO Andy Jassy said in a statement.

Amazon’s shares have risen by 50 percent in the past 12 months as investors applauded its aggressive cost-cutting early last year and an increase in sales.

The company said more than one billion items were purchased worldwide during the company’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping events.

Confirming investor enthusiasm, Amazon said net profit in the October to December period increased to $10.6 billion, also surpassing analyst expectations.

The company last year eliminated some 27,000 jobs in a move it said at the time was necessary, after years of sustained hiring.

Amazon said its employee count stood at 1.525 million at the end of 2023, down one percent from a year before.

Amazon’s cloud business AWS, often described as the company’s cash cow, grew 13 percent in the fourth quarter.

This was weaker than the blistering performance of cloud computing colossus Microsoft, which announced growth of about 30 percent in its cloud business as customers signed up for AI services.

Amazon saw a solid increase of 26 percent in its advertising business as it bolsters its position as a rival to ad behemoths Meta and Google.

The company founded by Jeff Bezos is also expanding into AI and on Tuesday said it was testing a chatbot named Rufus that would provide shopping tips to US mobile app customers.

Like most tech titans, Amazon faces increased regulatory scrutiny.

A top US antitrust regulator sued Amazon in September, accusing the online retail behemoth of running an illegal monopoly by strong-arming small sellers and stifling potential rivals.

In its earnings statement, the company noted that “in the US, customers ordered more than 500 million items from independent sellers, most of which are small and medium-sized businesses.”

Amazon on Monday said it was dropping its plans to buy the iRobot vacuum maker after the EU’s antitrust authority objected to the plan over competition concerns.

AFP
Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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