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Amazon’s quarterly profits approach $2bn for first time

Online retailing giant Amazon has enjoyed its best ever quarter with profits almost reaching $2bn (£1.42bn) for the first time in the company’s history.

The online retail giant reported that it saw its net income more than double to $1.9bn (£1.33bn) in the fourth quarter ending December 31 2017, up from $749m for the same period last year.

Net sales also increased by 38% to $60.5bn (£42.5bn) which was boosted by the company’s acquisition of grocery retailer Whole Foods last year which added $4.5bn (£3.1bn).

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Amazon’s results were boosted by a provisional tax benefit for the impact of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 of approximately $789m (£554m).

On a full-year basis, Amazon’s net sales grew by 31% to $177.9bn (£125bn), compared with $136bn (£95.5bn) in 2016.

However, operating income slipped by 2% to $4.1bn (£2.9bn), compared with 2016. Net income also fell to $3bn (£2.1bn), compared with net income of $2.4bn (£1.68bn) in 2016.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos attributed a lot of the growth to the increase in the sales of their Alexa operating system.

He said: “Our 2017 projections for Alexa were very optimistic, and we far exceeded them. We don’t see positive surprises of this magnitude very often — expect us to double down.

“We’ve reached an important point where other companies and developers are accelerating adoption of Alexa. There are now over 30,000 skills from outside developers, customers can control more than 4,000 smart home devices from 1,200 unique brands with Alexa, and we’re seeing strong response to our new far-field voice kit for manufacturers. [We have] Much more to come and a huge thank you to our customers and partners.”

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