SEATTLE — Led by especially strong growth and improvements in consumer electronics, Amazon.com reported preliminary first-quarter sales and earnings results that showed marked improvement over the same three months last year.
The giant online retailer reconfirmed the 2001 guidance given about its pro forma operating loss, expecting to reduce this to slightly less than $50 million in the first quarter, compared with a pro forma operating loss of $99 million in the year-ago period.
Net sales for the first quarter ended March 31, fueled by strong growth in CE and international, are expected to exceed $695 million, an increase of more than 21 percent over the $574 million recorded in the first three months last year.
Gross profit is expected to exceed $175 million in the first quarter, an increase of more than 35 percent, compared with the $128 million registered in the same quarter in 2000.
Net loss in the first quarter is expected to be less than $255 million, down from a net loss of $308 million in the year-ago first quarter. Excluding the quarter's portion of the previously announced restructuring charge, the net loss is expected to be less than $150 million.
Amazon.com said U.S. books, music and video gross profit is expected to increase more than 30 percent, on a very slight increase in sales growth.
At the same time, the company expects annualized inventory turns to be about 12, compared with nine in the prior year.
"For the fifth consecutive quarter, we saw substantial improvement in our operations and bottom-line performance," said Jeff Bezos, CEO. "Electronics demonstrated strong growth and improvements."
Amazon.com said it plans to release complete first-quarter results after the market closes on April 24.