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Amazon hits $1bn mark and it's not even Christmas

Buoyed by strong international sales and third-party deals
Written by Tony Hallett, Contributor

Buoyed by strong international sales and third-party deals

Amazon.com has reported a $10m first quarter loss - narrower than analysts had expected - on healthy sales of $1.084bn, up 28 per cent year-on-year. For the corresponding period last year, the e-tailer posted a loss of $23m. International sales contributed to the company's first non-Christmas season billion dollar three months, rising 68 per cent to $379m. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement hit the usual buttons, saying: "We are simultaneously lowering prices and driving customer experience." Amazon.co.uk MD Robin Terrell told silicon.com that the e-tailer's international properties - in France, Germany, Japan and the UK - are growing faster because they are younger than the US business, where buying online is "more mainstream". Third-party sales of new, used and refurbished goods by companies and individuals grew strongly from 13 to 19 per cent of all sales. Terrell said: "When Jeff [Bezos] talks about buying anything from us he really means anything." He added that such transactions will never account for 100 per cent of sales though they are important because although they don't bring in the lion's share of revenues there is no fulfilment overhead for the giant e-tailer and so the profit margin is relatively high. The next Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, comes out on 21 June and Amazon considered the event worthy of a mention in its results statement. The UK business took 30,000 advance orders in the first 24 hours it was offered and, at last count, will be delivering more than 130,000 copies on the day of its release. The company's free shipping offer has been a success and has been extended, Terrell said.
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