Amazon sales surge 44% as it smashes earnings expectations

 Amazon sales surge 44% as it smashes earnings expectations

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Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon
Katherine Taylor | Reuters

Amazon shares climbed as much as 3% in extended trading Thursday after the company released its first-quarter earnings, beating Wall Street’s expectations for earnings and revenue. 

Here’s how the e-commerce giant fared, relative to analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv:

  • Earnings: $15.79 per share vs. $9.54 per share expected
  • Revenue: $108.52 billion vs. $104.47 billion expected

Few companies have benefited from the pandemic-fueled surge of online shopping as much as Amazon. Its first-quarter results showed the company’s business continues to be buoyed by the pandemic, with profits soaring 44% year-over-year to $108.5 billion.

Amazon’s guidance for the second quarter implies that it expects the momentum to continue, which should help allay investor fears that business could slow in a post-pandemic environment. The company expects to post revenue between $110 billion and $116 billion, surpassing Wall Street’s projection $108.6 billion.

Crucially, Amazon confirmed in its guidance that this year’s Prime Day will take place in June, which will likely help year-over-year comparisons for revenue in the second quarter. Typically, Amazon’s annual, two-day discount bonanza takes place in July, but the company postponed the event to October last year amid pandemic-related uncertainty.

Outside of its core retail segment, Amazon’s cloud-computing and advertising businesses continue to boom. Amazon Web Services saw net sales of $13.5 billion during the quarter, up 32% year over year. Amazon doesn’t disclose advertising sales, but it’s included in the company’s “Other” category, which saw its revenues grow 77% year over year to $6.9 billion.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also gave a rare glimpse into how the company’s streaming business has fared during the pandemic, as stuck-at-home consumers relied on online entertainment to keep busy. “As Prime Video turns 10, over 175 million Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year, and streaming hours are up more than 70% year over year,” he said.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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