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Amazon Reports Loss, but Gains Market Share

The company’s total revenues jumped 27.1 percent to $61.09 billion last year as sales of products increased 23.2 percent to $51.73 billion.

Amazon.com lost money last year but took a big chunk of market share in the process.

This story first appeared in the January 30, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The Web giant’s net losses for 2012 tallied $39 million, or 9 cents a diluted share. That compared with 2011 earnings of $631 million, or $1.37 a share. Losses came in 6 cents worse than the 3-cent deficit analysts projected, but investors took the miss in stride and shares of the company gained 8.1 percent to $281.39 in after-market trading Tuesday.

Amazon has fashion on its radar and last fall leased a 40,000-square-foot space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for a photo studio to support Amazon Fashion, Shopbop and MyHabit. The studio will shoot thousands of on-model looks a year in a bid to improve the presentation of fashion on the Web sites.

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The company has also been beefing up its ability to get goods to consumers, opening 20 new fulfillment centers last year.

That type of spending, which has eaten into Amazon’s bottom line, is intended to help the firm continue to grab sales and market share. The company’s total revenues jumped 27.1 percent to $61.09 billion last year as sales of products increased 23.2 percent to $51.73 billion.

Amazon doesn’t break out how much of its sales come from fashion and accessories, but overall growth is expected to continue. First-quarter sales are slated to rise to between $15 billion and $16.6 billion, growth of between 14 and 26 percent.

The company has radically disrupted a series of businesses as it’s grown.

“We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com, who this month was given the National Retail Federation’s Gold Medal award. “After five years, eBooks is a multibillion-dollar category for us and growing fast — up approximately 70 percent last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5 percent.”

Amazon’s fourth-quarter earnings fell 45.2 percent to $97 million, or 21 cents a share, as revenues rose 22 percent to $21.27 billion.

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