In the final quarter of 2012, the most important for retailers, the online shopping giant's revenue grew by 22 percent to $21.3bn, about $1bn short of Wall Street forecasts. Reported holiday sales in the US were disappointing across the board, despite growth of 14 percent, according to ComScore, a research group.
Amazon profits have diminished in recent years as the company has dedicated time and resources in longer-term growth, including the building of massive fulfilment centres, developing the Kindle Fire tablet business and developing its cloud services. Despite being lower than forecasts, analysts say that the end-of-year figures are promising, and that Amazon may be able to produce good returns after their investment.
“We are now seeing the transition we've been expecting,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO. “After five years ebooks is a multi-billion 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, up just five percent.”
The internet retailer's operating income grew 56 percent to $405m in the fourth quarter, up from $260m in the same period in 2011. However, the profitability of its international business has fallen, with oversees operating margins falling to 0.8 percent.