Amazon: sales surge but profits flat
Amazon saw sales rise 34% to $43.7 billion over the last three months. The e-commerce giant’s profits were, however, nearly flat as it pumped cash into the likes of streaming video, datacentres and warehouses.
Profits in the three months to the end of September were $256 million, up from $252 million in 2016. “In the last month alone, we’ve launched five new Alexa-enabled devices, introduced Alexa in India, announced integration with BMW, surpassed 25,000 skills, integrated Alexa with Sonos speakers, taught Alexa to distinguish between two voices, and more. Because Alexa’s brain is in the AWS cloud, her new abilities are available to all Echo customers, not just those who buy a new device,” says Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO. “And it’s working — customers have purchased tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices, given Echo devices over 100,000 five-star reviews, and active customers are up more than 5x since the same time last year. With thousands of developers and hardware makers building new Alexa skills and devices, the Alexa experience will continue to get even better.”
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Whole Foods, which Amazon acquired earlier this year, brought in $1.3 billion in sales in the quarter. Excluding the retailer, sales increased 29%. They were up 35% overall in North America, which accounts for the bulk of Amazon's business, and they increased 29% in its international division. Amazon also said that it continues to look at ways to expand its physical presence. Amazon Books, for instance, opened bookstores in Bellevue, WA, San Jose, CA, Los Angeles, CA, and a second location in New York. There are now 12 bookstores across the US with more planned, including Walnut Creek, CA, Washington, D.C., and Austin, TX.