Amazon.com Inc., which is famous for sacrificing profitability for long-term investments, posted a big jump in fourth-quarter profits that still wasn’t enough for Wall Street.
Net income for the quarter increased 125 percent to $482 million, or $1 a diluted share, up from $214 million, or 45 cents a share a year ago. Sales for the quarter ended Dec. 31 increased 22 percent to $35.7 billion, compared with $29.3 billion a year earlier.
Earnings a share, however, came in 56 cents below the $1.56 analysts projected for the quarter, prompting the company’s stock to drop 13 percent to $552.11 in after-hours trading.
Annual earnings totaled $596 million, or $1.25 a diluted share, on Thursday. That’s a big jump compared with a net loss of $241 million, or 52 cents, in 2014. Net sales increased 20.2 percent to $107 billion from $88.99 billion as the e-commerce giant continued to take market share from its brick and mortar competitors.
It was a milestone year and founder and chief executive officer Jeff Bezos was feeling reflective.
“Twenty years ago, I was driving the packages to the post office myself and hoping we might one day afford a forklift. This year, we pass $100 billion in annual sales and serve 300 million customers,” Bezos said. “And still, measured by the dynamism we see everywhere in the marketplace and by the ever-expanding opportunities we see to invent on behalf of customers, it feels every bit like Day 1.”
Aside from the financials, much of the conversation on a conference call with analysts focused on Amazon’s emphasis on serving customers — a favorite theme for the company. Chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky mentioned the Prime Now service, which allowed customers shop up until 11:59 p.m. on Christmas Eve. “So that,” he said, “was a valuable service to last-minute shoppers.”
“We are grateful to our customers and remain heads down, focused on driving a better customer experience,” Olsavsky said. “We believe putting customers first is the only reliable way to create lasting value for shareholders.”