Amazon had a bumper holiday, as the online retailer announced a 55% rise in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday for the three months ending 31 December, but its share price fell in after hours trading after the retail and services giant narrowly missed Wall Street’s sales expectations.
For years, Amazon eschewed profits for growth, to the criticism of many investors. Profits for the final quarter of 2016 rose to $749m from $482m a year earlier, the seventh straight profitable quarter for Amazon.
But Amazon’s shares slid more than 3% after the company announced that its revenues for the final three months of 2016 were $43.74bn, up 22% from last year but short of the $44.68bn expected by analysts polled by Reuters. First-quarter revenue guidance was also lower than expected.
Amazon Web Services, a cloud computing service which hosts companies including Netflix and AirBnB and is the company’s most profitable and fastest growing division, reported revenues of $3.53bn versus the expected $3.6bn.
Amazon forecast a larger than expected drop in operating income for the current quarter as it continues to spend heavily on new warehouses and video content. The company is also increasing investment in marketing its Prime membership programme internationally and original video content.