Amazon Predicts 2002 Profit - TheStreet

SEATTLE -- In its first bit of financial guidance beyond the fourth quarter of 2001, Internet retailer

Amazon.com

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told analysts Tuesday it expects to be profitable for the full year of 2002 on a limited basis.

"We will be well positioned for pro-forma operating profitability for the year 2002," Amazon Chief Financial Officer Warren Jenson said in his opening comments at the company's annual analyst day.

In addition, Jenson reiterated the company's plans to be profitable for the first time on a limited basis in the fourth quarter of 2001, although he hedged his comments by saying "there are no guarantees."

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Amazon shares were off 50 cents at $16.42.

The comments are significant, as they mark the first time the company has said when it expects to be profitable -- although on a pro forma basis, which excludes many charges such as amortization of goodwill and interest payments -- for a full fiscal year.

The comments came in Jenson's opening remarks, and will likely be elaborated on later during the all-day conference.

In other early news from Amazon analyst day, the company announced its intention of launching an institutional book store, so companies can purchase large orders of books on credit.

"The reality is the work we have done so far has focused on individuals with credit cards," David Risher, senior vice president of marketing and merchandising, told the gathering.

In addition, the company plans to begin selling personal computers, a move designed to beef up its fast-growing electronics store.