Amazon profit falls 73% in Q3 despite record Kindle launch

Amazon reported third-quarter earnings on Tuesday, noting net sales increased 44% from the same quarter last year to $10.88 billion. That figure is on a par with Wall Street’s revenue expectations of $10.93 billion. Amazon reported EPS of $0.14, which missed the Street’s estimates of $0.24 per share. Net income fell 73% quarter-over-quarter, however. Amazon reported net income of $63 million during the third quarter, down from $231 million in the second quarter. The online retailer said September 28th was its biggest day ever for Kindle sales, including during the previous peak holiday season. “In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic ink Kindles are double the previous launch,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said. “And based on what we’re seeing with Kindle Fire pre-orders, we’re increasing capacity and building millions more than we’d already planned.” Looking forward to the fourth quarter, Amazon expects net sales to fall between $16.45 billion and $18.65 billion, 27-44% growth over the fourth quarter of last year. The company also confirmed better than expected demand for its Kindle Fire tablet, noting that it is building “millions more” tablets than it had initially orders. Shares of Amazon stock fell more than 14% in after-hours trading. Read on for the full press release from Amazon.

Amazon.com Announces Third Quarter Sales up 44% to $10.88 Billion; Introduced Four New Kindle Devices for the Holidays

SEATTLE, Oct 25, 2011

Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2011.

Operating cash flow increased 19% to $3.11 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.62billion for the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2010. Free cash flow decreased 17% to $1.53 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $1.83 billion for the trailing twelve months ended September 30, 2010.

Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 469 million on September 30, 2011, compared with 465 million a year ago.

Net sales increased 44% to $10.88 billion in the third quarter, compared with $7.56 billion in third quarter 2010. Excluding the $371 million favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales would have grown 39% compared with third quarter 2010.

Operating income was $79 million in the third quarter, compared with $268 million in third quarter 2010. The favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter on operating income was $14 million.

Net income decreased 73% to $63 million in the third quarter, or $0.14 per diluted share, compared with net income of $231 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, in third quarter 2010.

“September 28th was the biggest order day ever for Kindle, even bigger than previous holiday peak days – we introduced Kindle Fire for $199, Kindle Touch 3G for $149, Kindle Touch for $99, and our all new Kindle for only $79,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “In the three weeks since launch, orders for electronic ink Kindles are double the previous launch. And based on what we’re seeing with Kindle Fire pre-orders, we’re increasing capacity and building millions more than we’d already planned.”

Highlights

 

  • Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, a new class of Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, and web browsing with all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, Whispersync, vibrant color touch screen, a powerful dual-core processor, and “Amazon Silk” – Amazon’s new revolutionary web browser that accelerates the power of the mobile device by using the computing speed and power of the Amazon Web Services Cloud. Kindle Fire is only $199.
  • Amazon announced three all-new Kindle e-readers that are smaller, lighter, and more affordable than ever before. The $79 latest generation Kindle is for customers who want the lightest, most compact Kindle at an incredible price. The $99 Kindle Touch includes an easy-to-use touch screen. Kindle Touch 3G is the top of the line e-reader with the unparalleled convenience of free 3G where customers never have to hunt or pay for a Wi-Fi hotspot – you simply download and read books anytime and anywhere – all for $149. Each of these e-readers includes all the benefits of the most advanced electronic ink display that reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.
  • Amazon.fr launched the French Kindle Store offering customers a vast selection of over 35,000 French-language Kindle books. Amazon also announced that its series of free “Buy Once, Read Everywhere” apps for the most popular devices, including iPad, iPod touch, iPhone, PCs, Macs and Android-based devices, are now available in French-language versions. In addition, Amazon announced that the all-new Kindle with French navigation is available at Amazon.fr for only 99EUR .
  • Amazon.com announced licensing agreements with Twentieth Century Fox and PBS that allow the millions of Amazon Prime members to instantly stream a broad selection of popular movies and TV shows from their vast libraries. These deals will bring the total number of Prime instant videos to more than 12,000 movies and TV shows from partners such as CBS, FOX, PBS, NBCUniversal, Sony, Warner Bros., and many more.
  • Amazon Publishing released 61 titles in the quarter, including Kindle bestsellers “The Detachment” by Barry Eisler, “Dove Season” by Johnny Shaw, and “A Small Fortune” by Audrey Braun. Recent acquisitions include Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Chef,” Penny Marshall’s memoir “My Mother Was Nuts,” and the epic Foreworld Series project led by Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear. Amazon Publishing also announced a new imprint, 47North, which is dedicated to science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. 47North joins sister imprints AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Powered by Amazon, Montlake Romance, and Thomas & Mercer.
  • The Company launched Amazon.es, a Spanish-language website offering customers a vast selection of books, DVDs, video games, music, and consumer electronics at everyday low prices. Amazon.es’s convenient services include Amazon Premium, the local version of Amazon Prime, with unlimited free guaranteed 2-3 day delivery for an annual fee of 14.95EUR . The first product sold on Amazon.es was a Blu-ray pack of “Star Wars: The Complete Saga” to a new Premium customer in Madrid.
  • North America segment sales, representing the Company’s U.S. and Canadian sites, were $5.93 billion, up 44% from third quarter 2010.
  • International segment sales, representing the Company’s U.K., German, Japanese, French, Chinese, Italian and Spanish sites, were $4.94 billion, up 44% from third quarter 2010. Excluding the favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 33%.
  • Worldwide Media sales grew 24% to $4.15 billion. Excluding the favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 19%.
  • Worldwide Electronics and Other General Merchandise sales grew 59% to $6.32 billion. Excluding the favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, sales grew 54%.
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced new features to make it even easier for enterprise customers to utilize the AWS infrastructure. New services like Direct Connect, Identity and Access Management, and Virtual Private Clouds allow enterprises to reliably, securely, and cost effectively use the existing AWS infrastructure for their computing needs.
  • AWS launched GovCloud, a new AWS Region designed to allow U.S. government agencies and contractors to move more sensitive workloads into the cloud by addressing their specific regulatory and compliance requirements. AWS also announced it has received Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) Moderate Authorization and Accreditation from the U.S. General Services Administration.

Financial Guidance

The following forward-looking statements reflect Amazon.com’s expectations as of October 25, 2011. Our results are inherently unpredictable and may be materially affected by many factors, such as fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in global economic conditions and consumer spending, world events, the rate of growth of the Internet and online commerce and the various factors detailed below.

Fourth Quarter 2011 Guidance

 

  • Net sales are expected to be between $16.45 billion and $18.65 billion, or to grow between 27% and 44% compared with fourth quarter 2010.
  • Operating income (loss) is expected to be between $(200) million and $250 million, or between 142% decline and 47% decline compared with fourth quarter 2010.
  • This guidance includes approximately $200 million for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets, and it assumes, among other things, that no additional business acquisitions or investments are concluded and that there are no further revisions to stock-based compensation estimates.

A conference call will be webcast live today at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET, and will be available for at least three months at http://www.amazon.com/ir. This call will contain forward-looking statements and other material information regarding the Company’s financial and operating results.

These forward-looking statements are inherently difficult to predict. Actual results could differ materially for a variety of reasons, including, in addition to the factors discussed above, the amount that Amazon.com invests in new business opportunities and the timing of those investments, the mix of products sold to customers, the mix of net sales derived from products as compared with services, the extent to which we owe income taxes, competition, management of growth, potential fluctuations in operating results, international growth and expansion, the outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, risks of inventory management, seasonality, the degree to which the Company enters into, maintains and develops commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, and risks of fulfillment throughput and productivity. Other risks and uncertainties include, among others, risks related to new products, services and technologies, system interruptions, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. In addition, the current global economic climate amplifies many of these risks. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.

Our investor relations website is http://www.amazon.com/ir and we encourage investors to use it as a way of easily finding information about us. We promptly make available on this website, free of charge, the reports that we file or furnish with the SEC, corporate governance information (including our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics), and select press releases and social media postings.

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