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Amazon Reports Higher Q1 Sales, Profits

Seattle – reported double-digit sales and earnings gains for the first three months of the year, but forecast a steep loss for the current quarter.

Net sales rose 23 percent to $19.7 billion for the period ended March 31, while net earnings were up 31 percent to $108 million.

In North America, net sales increased 26 percent to $11.9 billion. The tally was comprised of $7.8 billion in electronics and other general merchandise, up 28 percent year over year, and $2.8 billion in media, a 13 percent gain.

Net shipping costs increased 28 percent worldwide to $980 million, and capital investment was up 39 percent to $16.6 billion as the company rolled out  a series of initiatives including the Fire TV smart TV adapter, new original video content, and additional film and TV licensing agreements for Amazon Prime, including this week’s announced HBO deal.

In a statement, founder/CEO Jeff Bezos said “We get our energy from inventing on behalf of customers, and 2014 is off to a kinetic start.”

He added that the company is “working hard to keep Fire TV in stock.”

Looking ahead however, the e-tailer is projecting a second-quarter operating loss of between $455 million and $55 million, compared to operating income of $79 million for the year-ago period, on net sales gains of 15 to 26 percent.