Amazon.com on Thursday reported the highest quarterly profits in company history, bolstered by strong holiday sales and growing demand for its cloud business.
Fourth-quarter profits – which included earnings from Whole Foods Market – rose to $1.9 billion, or $3.75 per share, up from $749 million, or $1.54 per share, a year earlier. Shares of the company’s stock rose more than 6 percent in after-hours trading following the news. (The stock had fallen 4.2 percent in anticipation of the results, to $1,390 a share.)
The financial report painted a picture of a juggernaut that shows little sign of slowing. Amazon hired nearly 130,000 employees globally in 2017, excluding acquisitions, adding a workforce the size of a small city. The Seattle-based tech giant said it shipped more than 5 billion items last year as part of its Prime subscription program, and that more new members had joined Amazon Prime in 2017 than in any other year, both worldwide and in the United States.
The company reported revenue of $60.5 billion during the fourth quarter, up from $43.7 billion a year earlier. Whole Foods Market, which Amazon acquired in August, contributed about $4.5 billion in North American sales.
The company said it had benefited from the new tax law, as well as brisk demand for its Alexa-powered Echo devices.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Abha Bhattarai