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Amazon more than triples profit in Q1

By Huw Hughes

30 Apr 2021

US retail giant Amazon has reported another strong quarter with profit more than tripling in the three months to March 31.

The company, which has been profiting throughout the pandemic from consumers’ shift to online shopping, saw its net income soar 224 percent in the first quarter to 8.1 billion dollars.

Meanwhile, net sales increased 44 percent to 108.5 billion dollars - the second quarter in a row it’s topped 100 billion dollars.

Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos hailed the company’s Prime Video service and its Amazon Web Services (AWS) for the company’s stellar results.

“In just 15 years, AWS has become a 54 billion dollar annual sales run rate business competing against the world’s largest technology companies, and its growth is accelerating - up 32 percent year over year,” he said in a release.

Bezos, who founded Amazon in 1994 out of his garage in Seattle, announced earlier this year he would be stepping down from the helm of the business but retaining the position of executive chair. Amazon veteran Andy Jassy is to replace him as CEO.

Amazon expects strong sales to continue despite stores reopening

Looking ahead, the company expects net sales to grow between 24 percent and 30 percent to reach between 110 billion dollars and 116 billion dollars in Q2. This should be helped by Prime Day which is expected to go ahead in the quarter.

Amazon said it expects operating income to be between 4.5 billion dollars and 8 billion dollars, which factors in around 1.5 billion dollars of costs related to Covid-19.

But with Amazon’s strong results comes controversy. The company, which has seen sales and profits soar in the past year, has faced mounting criticism over its treatment of workers during the pandemic.

Earlier this month, Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama voted against forming the company’s first unionised warehouse by a margin of more than 2-to-1.

The vote against the union came as a blow to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which organised the effort. RWDSU said it would challenge the result, citing election interference.

Amazon rejected the allegation.