Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO, speaks at The Economic Club of Washington's Milestone Celebration in Washington, . Bezos said that he is giving $2 billion to start the Bezos Day One Fund which will open preschools in low-income neighborhoods and give money to nonprofits that helps homeless familiesJeff Bezos Charitable Fund, Washington, USA - 13 Sep 2018

Amazon had a very good start to the year with big gains in sales and profits in the first quarter, although the e-commerce giant warned investors to brace themselves for a slower second quarter.

At the same time, Amazon said it’s spending to speed up delivery. The company, which pioneered two-day shipping as a norm for the e-commerce industry, said it’s looking to spend $800 million this quarter to move toward one-day free shipping as the standard for its Prime membership.

Clearly, Amazon has the financial might to keep pushing the industry forward.

The e-commerce titan soundly thumped earnings estimates — ringing in $7.09 in earnings per share, versus Refinitiv’s projected $4.72. Revenue clocked in at $59.7 billion.

For Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud business and cash cow, a booming 41.4 percent growth delivered $7.7 billion, meeting expectations.

Unlike with the previous quarter’s results, Amazon’s stock ticked upward on the news in after-hours trading, increasing 1.2 percent. In January, news of its record-breaking fourth-quarter profits dulled enthusiasm, due to slower-than-expected growth.

The same applies for the first three months of 2019. The company’s total revenues increased 16.9 percent. And while that sounds great, it’s the slowest growth rate since early 2015. And web services’ 41.4 percent boost is significant on its own, but suddenly looks less exciting set against the year-ago quarter’s 49 percent expansion.

Meanwhile, Amazon’s ad business seems to have taken off its rocket boosters, clocking in at $2.7 billion and 34 percent revenue growth, which pales in comparison to its approximate 60 percent increase over the last five quarters.

Ultimately, that means investors looking for more supercharged growth might be disappointed. But greater profitability should ease the sting, with Amazon’s net income nabbing a record $3.6 billion and easily topping $1.6 billion in earnings a year earlier.

The company projects net sales between $59.5 billion and $63.5 billion over the next three months. If it comes in at dead center, the figure will slide under analysts’ estimates of $62.37 billion, according to Refinitiv.

Other updates across Amazon’s business lines included new partnerships with tech rivals, such as Google and Apple, updates on devices and other matters, including:

• The Alexa Skills Store now features more than 90,000 skills from external developers. The tech giant also unleashed health and wellness capabilities, so developers can build skills to help track babies’ welfare — such as sleep, diaper changes and feedings — as well as a HIPAA-eligible environment to build health-care features.

• Alexa is expanding internationally, bringing devices and features into new regions, from Europe to South America, as well as to putting Alexa in more cars, such as the Audi e-tron.

• The company revealed a third round of Whole Foods price cuts, with lower prices on produce for all customers and additional Prime deals.

• Millions of Prime members are using Amazon Day, a delivery service that lets Prime members choose a day of the week for shipments to arrive, which also allows packages to be grouped.

• Key by Amazon — a service that allows access to homes and vehicles for delivery people — has expanded to millions more Prime members in 50 U.S. cities. And the company notes that Key for Garage recently launched, joining Key for Home and Key for Car.

• Amazon debuted its new Selling Partner Summits, a set conferences to help small- and medium-size businesses build Amazon stores.

This year, Amazon’s efforts have landed it a spot behind Microsoft and Apple, making it the third most valuable company in the world. At the close Thursday, Amazon’s market capitalization stood at $936 billion.

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