Amazon earnings solid; Ups sales range

Amazon on Wednesday reported first quarter earnings of $143 million, or 34 cents a share, on revenue of $4.13 billion, up 37 percent from the year ago quarter.

Amazon on Wednesday reported first quarter earnings of $143 million, or 34 cents a share, on revenue of $4.13 billion, up 37 percent from the year ago quarter. The company also increased its sales range for the second quarter and 2008.

According to Thomson Financial, Amazon (statement) was expected to report earnings of 32 cents a share on revenue of $4.08 billion.

Amazon's outlook was also better than expected. Amazon projected second quarter sales between $3.87 billion and $4.07 billion compared to Wall Street estimates of $3.84 billion. The company also said operating income is expected to be $120 million to $160 million, a wide range that indicates growth of 3 percent to 38 percent from the second quarter. For 2008, Amazon projected sales between $19.1 billion and $20 billion compared to estimates of $19.3 billion. Operating income for the year is expected to be between $740 million and $940 million.

Overall, Amazon (all resources) delivered a solid quarter with good guidance.

By the numbers:

  • Inventory in the first quarter was $1.07 billion, down from $1.2 billion in the fourth quarter. As a percentage of sales, Amazon's inventory came in at 5.9 percent. Inventory turns were 13.1, up from 12.7 in the fourth quarter. Inventory turns were the highest in the last 5 quarters.
  • Amazon had 17,800 employees at the end of the quarter, up from 17,000 at the end of the fourth quarter.
  • Amazon's net sales got a boost from the weak dollar. Excluding currency rates, sales grew at a 31 percent clip in the first quarter.
  • The company said "Kindle selection" has more than 115,000 titles available, but didn't mention whether it had solved its Kindle shortage issue.
  • Amazon Web Services has 370,000 developers now, up 35,000 from the prior quarter.
  • Sellers using Fulfillment by Amazon jumped 50 percent compared to the fourth quarter.
  • North American sales were $2.13 billion, up 31 percent. International sales were $2.01 billion, up 44 percent from a year ago.
  • Media sales were $2.54 billion, up 28 percent from a year ago. Electronics and other general merchandise sales were up 56 percent to $1.48 billion.