Free shipping and a rapidly growing international segment helped boost revenue and earnings at Amazon.com during the third quarter.
Net sales for the third quarter jumped 29 percent, coming in at $1.46 billion, up from a year-ago $1.13 billion. Excluding a $57 million benefit from changes in currency rates, sales climbed 24 percent.
Amazon.com's profit more than tripled in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, rising to $54.1 million from $15.6 million in the same period last year. Pro-forma net income in the third quarter grew 52 percent, hitting $73 million, compared with $48 million in the same three months a year earlier.
“Our decision to put dollars into lower prices and free shipping instead of TV advertising continues to be embraced by our customers,” said Jeff Bezos, founder/CEO.
Broken out by product category, Amazon's CE and home office segment, called electronics and other general merchandise, increased sales by 27 percent in North America to $228.6 million, up from a year-ago $180.4 million.
The company's media category, which includes books, music, movies, software, video game software and consoles, saw North American sales rise 12 percent, reaching $563.6 million from a year-earlier $502.3 million.
Amazon's third-quarter sales into North America increased 15 percent to $816.1 million, compared with $709.3 million in the third quarter of 2003, while segment operating income declined to $57 million, down from a year-on-year $52 million, as increased adoption of free shipping contributed to a rise of $7 million in net shipping loss, compared with the same three months a year ago.
For the nine months, CE segment sales to North America jumped 29 percent to $678.9 million from $526 million in the same period in 2003. Media segment North American sales for the nine months were up 12 percent to $1.7 billion from $1.5 billion in the same nine months a year earlier.