Amazon.com beat estimates for its first quarter, but the company struck a rare cautionary note as it warned that growth would slow.
Before acquisition charges, Amazon.com lost $36.4 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $293.6 million. In the same quarter last year, the company lost $10.4 million on revenues of $87.4 million. Including acquisition charges, total net loss amounted to $61.7 million.
Operational losses as percentage of total sales reached 10 per cent for the quarter, slightly less than last year's 11 per cent but up from the fourth quarter of 1998.
Despite a very strong Christmas selling season, Amazon.com still managed to record sequential growth for the quarter. The company attributed this to fast growth in new activities such as video sales, and to its growing European operation. Amazon.com's German and UK operations contributed revenue of $25 million.
But the company warned that growth rates would slow. "Our historic growth rates cannot and will not continue," warned chief executive Jeff Bezos in a conference call on Wednesday.
Chief financial officer Joy Covey told analysts to expect mounting operating costs and increasing operating losses, while second quarter growth will be slower than historic trends.
The company said it would continue to branch out into new areas of ecommerce. In this quarter, Amazon.com launched an online auction site.
Amazon also announced on Wednesday that it is seeking a chief operating officer and a new chief financial officer. The current CFO, Joy Covey, will become chief strategy officer and focus on Amazon.com's expansion efforts.
Source: VNU Newswire
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