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Amazon profits from festive sales

Amazon profits from festive sales

Profit at online retailer Amazon rose 9% in the final three months of last year, as the company enjoyed a robust holiday shopping season.

It said net profit totalled $225m in the fourth quarter, up from $207m a year ago.

Unlike many retailers, Amazon has not yet been hit hard by the cutback in spending by many consumers.

Amazon said it would continue to offer low prices and free shipping deals to lure budget-conscious shoppers.

Revenue increased 18% to $6.7bn, beating analysts estimates and Amazon it expected sales to rise in the first three months of 2009.

"It looks like they took a lot of market share and made substantial gains," said Jeffrey Lindsay of Sanford C Bernstein.

"The good thing is that Amazon hasn't had to discount to the extent that people feared to achieve this."

Chief executive Jeff Bezos said Kindle, the electronic-reading device it introduced in 2007 to encourage book, magazine and newspaper downloads, had boosted sales.

Once a bookseller, Amazon now sells products in more than three dozen categories ranging from hairdryers to jewellery.

In the UK, it launched a music download site last year.

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