Amazon Reports Q1 2009 Sales, Asks “What Recession?”

Last week, announced quarterly sales of $4.89 billion, up 18 percent from the first quarter of 2009. While many factors contributed to the company’s strong quarter and more than $1.14 billion gross profit, Amazon executives pointed to strict inventory management and better than expected Kindle related sales.

“We worked well with vendors in terms of getting vendor savings…working with them to ship in bulk to the nearest [Amazon] facility,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said when asked how his company had managed to keep operating expenses in check.

The company had relatively low total operating expenses of $904 million on the aforementioned $4.89 billion in sales from the quarter.

Bezos also praised Amazon’s Kindle 2 and Kindle-related media sales, saying, “We’re grateful and excited that Kindle sales have exceeded our most optimistic expectations.”

Nearly Half of Sales is International

Of the $4.89 billion in quarterly sales, $2.72 billion came from “media,” which Amazon defines as “books, movies, music, digital downloads, software and games.” Electronics and other general merchandise represent $2.05 billion. Nearly half, or $2.31 billion, of worldwide quarterly sales came from outside of North America.

Amazon’s operating cash flow was $1.76 billion for the prior twelve months, compared with $1.04 billion for the year-ago period. Operating income increased 23 percent to $244 million in the first quarter, compared with $198 million in first quarter 2008. Excluding the $32 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, operating income would have grown 39 percent compared with first quarter 2008. Net income for the company increased 24 percent to $177 million in the first quarter, or $0.41 per diluted share, compared with net income of $143 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, in first quarter 2008.

Market Capitalization is $35 billion

Amazon’s common stock trades on the NASDAQ exchange. The price of the stock has been roughly $80 per share for much of April 2009. With approximately 429 million shares outstanding, the total value of Amazon’s outstanding shares is roughly $35 billion. By comparison, General Electric’s market capitalization is roughly $131 billion. Google’s is roughly $123 billion, and The New York Times’ is roughly $760 million, for example. was founded in 1995 by Jeff Bezos in a converted garage in Seattle. At the time, it had three employees, including Mr. Bezos.

PEC Staff
PEC Staff
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