Amazon Tops Estimates (Update)

The online retailer doubles its profit from a year ago.
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Updated from 05:05 p.m. EDT

SAN FRANCISCO -

Amazon

(AMZN) - Get Report

sailed past analysts' estimates for the second quarter as profit more than doubled on strong sales of its media and electronics merchandise.

The Seattle-based online retailer posted a profit of $158 million in the second quarter, or 37 cents a share, up 102% from $78 million, or 19 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts were expecting the company to earn 26 cents a share.

The company's profit included a noncash gain of $53 million recognized on the sale of its European DVD rental assets.

Revenue rose 41% to $4.06 billion in the second quarter, compared with $2.89 billion a year ago and was higher than analysts' expectations of $3.95 billion. Excluding the favorable impact from changes in foreign-exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 35% from a year ago.

Worldwide active seller accounts, which refers to the number of independent sellers on the site, were up 18% to more than 1.4 million, said Amazon. That compares to an increase of 11% a year ago.

"We've had several quarters where we've seen accelerated growth of active seller accounts," said company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on the conference call with analysts. "We think that the business looks good but it's not really impacting the guidance as we think about it."

Seller units were 29% of the total units in the store and remained unchanged from the year before.

Shares of Amazon were up more than 8% to $76.41 in recent extended trading.

For the third quarter, Amazon said it expects revenue to range from $4.2 billion to $4.425 billion, in line with analysts' expectations of $4.23 billion.

For the full fiscal year, the company forecast revenue to be between $19.35 billion and $20.10 billion, matching Street expectations of $19.59 billion.

Operating income in the second quarter increased 86% to $217 million. Excluding the $17 million favorable impact from changes in foreign-exchange rates, operating income grew 71% from a year ago.

Worldwide media sales grew 31% to $2.41 billion, while sales of electronics and other general merchandise sales were up 58% to $1.53 billion.

North America segment sales, representing the company's U.S. and Canadian sites, were up 35% from a year ago to $2.17 billion. International sales, representing the company's U.K., German, Japanese, French and Chinese sites, were up 47% to $1.89 billion. Excluding the impact of foreign-exchange rates, international sales grew 34%.

As Amazon's growth accelerates but gross margins declines, the company said it is getting more aggressive on pricing in a bid to ensure it has the most competitive pricing across many categories.

Amazon's rival

eBay

(EBAY) - Get Report

offered tepid guidance last week.

Last week

Google

(GOOG) - Get Report

admitted the slowdown in the economy is having an impact on its numbers, while

Yahoo

(YHOO)

which is struggling with a hostile bid from rival

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

missed Wall Street's second-quarter estimates Tuesday and delivered a weak forecast.