Internet retailer, Amazon.com, which has never turned a profit, said it is still on track to be profitable in the fourth quarter, although its Q4 forecast has been cut.
"We continue to expect pro forma operating profitability for the fourth quarter, and while there are no guarantees, we are well positioned to achieve this important milestone," said Warren Jenson, Amazon's chief financial officer.
The company said it expects to reduce its losses in Q4 as it runs its warehouses more efficiently and collects fees to handle internet orders for other retailers.
Fourth quarter sales will be unchanged or up no more than 10 per cent from the year-ago period, Amazon said, compared with its previous forecast for a 10 to 20 per cent gain, or between $970m and $1.07bn.
Sales in last year's fourth quarter accounted for 35 per cent of annual growth.
In addition, Amazon said cash and marketable securities are expected to be approximately $900m at 31 December, 2002; cash and marketable securities are expected to be over $550m at 31 March, 2002; and the company expects to generate cash and marketable securities for the nine months ending 31 December, 2002, combined.
The Seattle based e-tailer posted a loss excluding items of $58m, or 16 cents a share, compared with a loss of $89m or 25 cents a share a year earlier.
First Call analysts expected a loss of 16 cents a share.
Revenue increased slightly to $639m from $638m, but lower than Wall Street forecasts of $650.3m, according to First Call.
Merrill Lynch analyst Henry Blodget said in a research note: "If the company hits the mid-point of the guidance range and reaffirms fourth quarter operating profitability, we would expect the stock to go up."
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