While retailers continue to struggle and dead malls pile up in characterless suburbs across America, Amazon just keeps cashing in, as the e-commerce and media behemoth delivered first-quarter earnings that blew past expectations, sending its stock up 4 percent in after-hours trading.
After markets closed Thursday, Amazon reported $35.7 billion in revenue and earnings of $1.48 a share for the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with the $29.1 billion in revenue — a 23 percent bump, year-over-year — and earnings of $1.07 a share the company reported in the corresponding period last year. And after falling short of analyst expectations the last two quarters, Amazon blew past projected revenue of $35.3 billion and earnings of $1.12 a share.
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos highlighted the company’s growth in India in a statement announcing the earnings.
“Our India team is moving fast and delivering for customers and sellers. The team has increased Prime selection by 75 percent since launching the program nine months ago, increased fulfillment capacity for sellers by 26 percent already this year, announced 18 Indian Original TV series, and just last week introduced a Fire TV Stick optimized for Indian customers with integrated voice search in English and Hindi,” Bezos said. “We’re grateful that customers are responding — Amazon.in is the most visited and the fastest growing marketplace in India. It’s still Day 1 for e-commerce in India, and I assure you that we’ll keep investing in technology and infrastructure while working hard to invent on behalf of our customers and small and medium businesses in India.”
Amazon’s shares are up 23 percent year-to-date, as the company continues to add subscribers to its premium Prime service, which gives users free two-day shipping on millions of items, as well as access to its Amazon Prime Video and Prime Music streaming services. Prime costs $99 a year.
The burgeoning media enterprise has started to pick up plenty of hardware for its prestige programming, and added to its trophy case during the first quarter. Billy Bob Thornton, who stars in Amazon Studios’ “Goliath,” picked up the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama, and “Manchester by the Sea’s” Casey Affleck won the Oscar for Best Actor and the film’s writer and director, Kenneth Lonergan, won for Best Original Screenplay. The movie hits Amazon Prime Video, where it will be available to stream for free for all Prime members, on May 5. Prime subscribers will also be able to watch Thursday Night Football on the service this year, as Amazon will simulcast 10 NFL games.
Amazon also provided some guidance for its second quarter in its earnings release, projecting revenue between $35.3 billion and $37.8 billion — a 16 to 24 percent year-over-year increase — and operating income between $425 million and $1.1 billion.
The company will hold a call to discuss the earnings at 5:30 p.m. ET.