Online bookseller Amazon.com plans to axe 15 per cent of its workforce in a bid to become profitable by the end of the year.
The e-tailer said it will cut 1300 jobs, mainly as a result of closing its US distribution and customer service centres. It expects to take a $150m charge in the first half of this fiscal year to cover the cost.
Warren Jenson, Amazon's chief financial officer, said: "While the strength of consumer spending remains uncertain, we expect Amazon as a whole to reach operating profitability in the fourth quarter of this year."
The announcement came as Amazon, which is famous for its high market capitalisation but failure to make a profit, reported its fourth-quarter figures.
For the period ended 31 December, the vendor's sales increased by 44 per cent to $972m, while its net losses widened to $545m, or $1.53 per share, after extraordinary charges of $339m for goodwill and equity investments. This compares with a loss of $323m, or 96 cents per share, in the year ago quarter.
On a pro forma basis, Amazon turned in a net loss of $90.4m, or 25 cents per share, beating Wall Street's expectations that it would make a loss of 26 cents per share. The firm's pro forma loss in the year ago quarter was $184.9m, or 55 cents per share.
Amazon attributed the company's overall revenue growth to "exceptionally strong sales" in the UK, Germany, France and Japan. It also said its electronics, kitchen, and tools and hardware stores saw strong revenue growth.
In the first quarter of 2001, the company expects sales to increase to between $650 and $700m, and to grow by 20 to 30 per cent over the course of the full fiscal year.
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