Amazon beats analysts predictions; posts better-than-expected loss

Amazon beats analysts predictions; posts better-than-expected loss

Citing strong growth in electronics sales, recently announced that its first quarter net loss will be lower than expected.

The US-based online retailer said it expects to report first quarter revenues of more than $US695 million, up more than 21 per cent over net sales of $574 million in the first quarter 2000. Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had forecast revenues of $669.6 million.

Amazon said its pro forma net loss for the quarter is expected to be 22 cents per share; First Call/Thomson Financial had forecast a loss of 30 cents per share. For the same period last year, Amazon posted a pro forma net loss of 35 cents per share.

Amazon said its net loss is expected to be less than $255 million, down from a net loss of $308 million for the same period last year.

In early trading last week, Amazon stock was up $2.52 to $10.89 per share.

"For the fifth consecutive quarter, we saw substantial improvement in our operations and bottom-line performance," Amazon CEO Jeffrey Bezos said in a statement. "Electronics demonstrated especially strong growth and improvements."

Amazon, like other online retailers, undertook moves to rein in costs, cutting about 1300 jobs and closing a distribution centre in Georgia and customer service centre in Seattle.

In its effort to become profitable by the fourth quarter of this year, the company also converted a distribution facility in Seattle into a seasonal operation.

Jeffrey Fieler, an analyst at Bear Stearns, agreed that electronics sales helped to push revenues up. Amazon was also helped by a more benign pricing environment, he said.

"Amazon's competitors can't price like they did in the past," Fieler said.

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