Amazon fourth quarter figures disappoint

Shares in online retailer Amazon were poised for a sharp fall today after disappointing with its performance over the Christmas trading season.

Operating income rose 1% to $165m (€136.6m) in the fourth quarter, even though sales rose by an underlying 22% to $2.98bn (€2.5bn) – below US market hopes for a figure above £3bn (€2.5bn).

Overall profitability was hit by the impact of a tax benefit in 2004 as the bottom-line figure of $199m (€98.5m) compared with $347m (€287.3m) the year before.

While the figures were issued after the close of trading in New York yesterday, after-hours dealing in Amazon shares showed a 10% drop.

The company made around 45% of its sales in 2005 from its international operations.

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