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Amazon’s Q4 Sales Soar

1/31/2008 03:12:00 PM Eastern

Seattle — Sales of consumer electronics helped rocket Amazon.com’s net revenue 37 percent to $5.7 billion in the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2007, while net income increased a whopping 112 percent to $207 million.

“This quarter showed accelerated sales growth and record operating profits,” said Jeff Bezos, founder/CEO of Amazon.com. “In our view, these unusual financial results are driven by one thing: continuously improving the customer experience.”

Driving the gains was a 58 percent increase in global sales of CE and other general merchandise to $2.2 billion, which raised the category from 35 percent, to 39 percent, of the e-tailer’s worldwide net sales.

For the full year, net sales increased 35 percent to $14.8 billion, and net income increased 150 percent to $476 million.

Net sales in North America, including the company’s U.S. and Canadian sites, were $3.1 billion in the fourth quarter, up 40 percent year-over-year.

Despite the record gains, Wall Street drubbed the company’s stock due to lower profit margins stemming from holiday discounting, free shipping offers, and sales of less profitable products. Analysts were also concerned by Amazon’s projected 7 percent to 38 percent growth in first quarter operating income, which came in below estimates.

Separately, Amazon announced that it is acquiring Audible.com, an online provider of spoken-word audio content including books, newspapers, magazines and TV and radio shows, for about $300 million.

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