Amazon earnings, revenue, top expectations

Amazon.com Inc. posted solid increases in earnings and revenue and exceeded Wall Street's expectations for those two areas in its first quarter, the company announced Thursday.

Amazon credited its emphasis on lower prices and its ever increasing selection of products for its strong showing in the quarter, which ended March 31, 2004.

Compared with 2003's first quarter, Amazon's net revenue grew 41 percent to US$1.53 billion. Excluding an US$87 million benefit from foreign exchange rates, net revenue rose 33 percent. The consensus estimate from analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been for revenue of US$1.45 billion.

Net income came in at US$111.1 million, or US$0.26 per share, compared with a net loss of US$10.1 million, or US$0.03 per share, in 2003's first quarter.

The giant online retailer posted pro forma net income of US$97 million, or US$0.23 per share, exceeding the consensus estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call of US$0.19 per share. Pro forma net income in 2003's first quarter was US$40 million, or US$0.10 per share.

Also on Thursday, Amazon launched an online jewelry store.

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