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Amazon reports record sales but swings to a loss for the year

30 Jan 2013
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Amazon has reported a 22 percent rise in sales for its most recent financial quarter but saw the gloss taken off its results by posting a net loss its full year.

Amazon posted sales of $21.27bn for its quarter ending 31 December 2012, up from $17.43 in the year-ago quarter. Profits however slumped from $177m in Q411 to $97m in its latest quarter.

Over the full year, Amazon saw its sales hit $61.09bn, up 28 percent on 2011.

Despite the jump in sales, Amazon posted a $39m loss for the year, compared to profits of $631m in 2011.

"We're now seeing the transition we've been expecting," said Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.

"After five years, e-books 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 in our 17 years as a book seller, up just five percent."

The company said that its Kindle product line-up was by far its best-selling. The Kindle Fire HD was its best-selling product, followed by the Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle tablets.

Though retail is still Amazon's top business, the company worked to build out its Web Services operation in 2012. The enterprise cloud computing platform kicked off its first ever user conference last year.

The AWS lineup also expanded its service line to include a data warehousing offering and a high-memory database platform.

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Shaun Nichols

Shaun Nichols is the US correspondent for He has been with the company since 2006, originally joining as a news intern at the site's San Francisco offices.

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