Your favorite site for purchasing all your guilty pleasures like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” and “Fifty Shades of Grey” got a lot of love this quarter – and not just from you – as Amazon announced its financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2012, today – a quarter that was characterized by a surge in sales and continued success with the Kindle Fire.
And for those who were counting the customer-centric company out – particularly in the face of Facebook’s (News - Alert) recently launched social commerce platform and Apple’s (News - Alert) continued worldwide domination –think again. In fact Amazon substantially surpassed earnings expectations, posting EPS of $0.28 on revenue of $13.18 billion. Its stock is up almost 12 percent after hours on the news.
Among the highlights of this past quarter were that net sales increased 34 percent to $13.18 billion in the first quarter, compared with $9.86 billion in first quarter 2011; operating cash flow increased 1 percent to $3.05 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.03 billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2011; free cash flow decreased 39 percent to $1.15 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $1.90 billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2011; and Kindle Fire remains the No. 1 bestselling, most gifted, and most wished for product across the millions of items available on Amazon.com (News - Alert) since launch. Specifically, in the first quarter, nine out of 10 of the top sellers on Amazon.com were digital products including Kindle, Kindle books, movies, music and apps.
“I’m excited to announce that we now have more than 130,000 new, in-copyright books that are exclusive to the Kindle Store – you won’t find them anywhere else,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “They include many of our top bestsellers – in fact, 16 of our top 100 bestselling titles are exclusive to our store. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you don’t even need to buy these titles – you can borrow them for free – with no due dates – from our revolutionary Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.”
“The Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is heavily used by Kindle owners, and it has extremely unusual features that both authors and customers love,” Bezos said. “Every time you borrow a book, the author gets paid – and we have an inexhaustible supply of each title so you never have to wait in a queue for the book you want. Kindle is the bestselling e-reader in the world by far, and I assure you we’ll keep working hard so that the Kindle Store remains yet another reason to buy a Kindle!”
Amazon also celebrated the fact that in the last quarter it launched Kindle Touch Wi-Fi and Kindle Touch 3G on Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es. Over 175 countries around the world can now enjoy the full line of Kindle e-ink readers. The consumer product giant also introduced a new version of its popular Kindle for iPad app, which is the No. 5 free iPad app of all time and the No. 1 free books app on iPad, according to company officials.
Things still look fortuitous for Amazon for the second quarter as the company predicts $11.9 to $13.3 billion in revenue, which would mark a 20 to 34 percent increase compared with the second quarter of 2011. It also expects net income or loss to be between -$240 million (operating loss) and $40 million (operating profit).
Edited by Rich Steeves