Holiday sales of luxury items, for example, fell by more than one-third from a year earlier.
Of course, buried in Amazon's own data of the past three holiday seasons is reason enough to be less optimistic. On Dec. 26, 2006 the company said that on its "best" shopping day of that holiday season orders "exceeded" 4 million items.
A year later, in 2007, the company noted its best day logged 5.4 million orders. And this year, 6.3 milllion orders came from the season's top day.
So, in 2007 the top-order day grew by 35%. This year, the top day's sales were only 16.7% above last year.In other words, growth fell by half. That takes a little shine off "best ever," doesn't it? None of this is to say that Amazon isn't a relatively cheap stock for the longer-term investor, or that it's anything but well-positioned competitively for a time when consumers return to consuming. But it seems like it's high time to take Amazon's "Best Ever" holiday sales press release with a grain of salt.