Another quarter of huge revenue growth but slim profits is in the books for Amazon.
The company grew its first quarter revenue to $19.74 billion, a 23% increase over the first quarter last year, but its profits shrank 19% to $146 million, representing a 0.74% margin.
Book publishing, usually a highlight of the Amazon quarterly and annual reports, was strangely absent from much of the company announcement (below). The first mention of the industry on which Amazon built its business in is in the highlights section. Both the company’s designs on expanding its publishing house into Europe and its acquisition of ComiXology made the highlights.
Amazon’s media sales, which includes but is not limited to books and ebooks, grew in the quarter. In North America, Amazon media sales grew to $2.8 billion, up from $2.5 billion last quarter, an increase of 12%. Internationally, Amazon’s media sales grew to $2.6 billion from $2.5 billion, a 4% increase.
Amazon.com Announces First Quarter Sales up 23% to $19.74 Billion
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2014.
Operating cash flow increased 26% to $5.35 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $4.25 billion for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2013. Free cash flow increased to $1.49 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $177 million for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2013. Free cash flow for the trailing twelve months ended March 31, 2013 includes cash outflows for purchases of corporate office space and property in Seattle, Washington, of $1.4 billion.
Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 476 million on March 31, 2014, compared with 471 million one year ago.
Net sales increased 23% to $19.74 billion in the first quarter, compared with $16.07 billion in first quarter 2013. Excluding the $10 million favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales grew 23% compared with first quarter 2013.
Operating income decreased 19% to $146 million in the first quarter, compared with $181 million in first quarter 2013. The favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter on operating income was $18 million.
Net income increased to $108 million in the first quarter, or $0.23 per diluted share, compared with $82 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, in first quarter 2013.
“We get our energy from inventing on behalf of customers, and 2014 is off to a kinetic start,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “Our device team launched Fire TV, offering great content, including our recently announced exclusive deal with HBO, and innovative features like unified voice search, which we’re delighted is being adopted by so many new partners, including Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu Plus, Crackle and Showtime Anytime. The team is working hard to keep Fire TV in stock. Our retail team launched Prime Pantry, a new option available only to Prime members offering exclusive access to everyday essentials in non-bulk sizes — ranging from breakfast foods and popular soft drinks, to cleaning and personal care items. And, our AWS team significantly lowered prices on EC2, S3 and RDS, saving AWS customers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next several months alone.”
— Amazon introduced Fire TV, a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime Anytime, low-cost video rentals, and much more, offering an open ecosystem of over 200,000 movies and TV episodes. Fire TV also provides access to games from EA, Disney, Gameloft, Mojang, 2K, Amazon Game Studios, and more. The device offers voice search (that actually works!) to instantly find movies and TV shows, as well as the new ASAP feature which predicts the movies and TV episodes customers will want to watch and prepares them for playback.
— Amazon announced that HBO Go will become available for Fire TV, targeting a launch by year-end.
— With the launch of Fire TV, Amazon released new developer tools that allow developers to quickly and easily optimize PC, console or Android mobile apps and games for the new Fire TV. The new tools include sample code, as well as documentation and guidelines to help developers design and build living room experiences, including how to manage the input for the Fire game controller and Fire TV remote.
— Amazon Game Studios introduced Sev Zero, the Studios’ first game built from the ground up for Fire TV. Sev Zero combines a fast-action third-person shooter experience with the calculated strategy of tower defense gameplay for a fun, big screen experience.
Amazon announced that video streams on Prime Instant Video nearly tripled year over year.
— Amazon announced a content licensing agreement with HBO, making Prime Instant Video the exclusive online-only subscription home for select HBO programming, including The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Wire, Big Love, Deadwood, Eastbound and Down, Family Tree, Enlightened, Treme, early seasons of Boardwalk Empire and True Blood, as well as mini-series like Band of Brothers, John Adams, and more. The first wave of content will arrive on Prime Instant Video May 21.
— In addition, Prime Instant Video is now the exclusive online-only subscription home for FOX’s 24, BBC America’s Orphan Black, FX’s The Americans, and MTV’s Teen Wolf.
— Amazon introduced Prime Instant Video for the U.K. and Germany, offering thousands of popular movies and TV episodes available for unlimited streaming to Prime members. Prime members also continue to receive unlimited One-Day Delivery on millions of items and access to 500,000 Kindle books to borrow from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
— Amazon Studios greenlit six original pilots for full seasons available exclusively to Prime members — The After, Bosch, Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street, Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent and Wishenpoof! will become the next Amazon Original Series following rave customer reviews of the pilot episodes. In addition, Garry Trudeau’s political series Alpha House will return for a second season.
— Amazon Studios announced it has greenlit two new pilots — the half hour dramatic comedy The Cosmopolitans, from Whit Stillman, and the one hour drama Hand of God from Executive Producers Marc Forster, Ben Watkins, Ron Perlman, Brian Wilkins and Jeff King — for its third pilot season debuting later this year on Amazon Instant Video.
— Amazon now offers U.S. fulfillment center tours open to the public. Visit www.amazon.com/fctours for information on available tour locations, dates and times.
— Amazon introduced Prime Pantry, a new service available only to Prime members offering exclusive access to low-priced everyday essentials in everyday sizes. Available nationally, Prime customers can buy as much or as little as they want and have items conveniently delivered to their home. Selection includes popular soft drinks and bottled water, a new range of paper and laundry products in popular pack sizes, single boxes of breakfast cereal, potato chips, convenience-sized personal care products and more. There’s a flat $5.99 delivery fee per Prime Pantry box.
— Amazon introduced Dash, an easy-to-use shopping device that allows Prime Fresh customers, and their families, to effortlessly shop hundreds of thousands of items — ranging from groceries to household essentials — from anywhere in their home without having to browse the AmazonFresh website or app. Dash works directly with a customer’s AmazonFresh account — simply scan items or say the items you want and Dash finds it for you using voice search that actually works.
— Amazon Fashion and Shopbop are joining with Vogue and Born Free, a private sector-led initiative with the sole objective of ending mother-to-child HIV transmission by December 31, 2015, to create the Born Free Collection. Amazon Fashion will sponsor the launch event and support the initiative through on-site messaging and social programming. The collaboration, featuring pieces for both women and children from 22 notable female designers, is based on the works of Kenyan-born, New York-based visual artist Wangechi Mutu and is available exclusively on Shopbop. All profits from sales of the Collection will benefit Born Free.
— Amazon introduced Flow to the Amazon app for iPhone. Flow offers customers a convenient way to search for products they need to restock in their home without typing, scanning a barcode or taking a photo — simply move your phone over packaged goods you need to restock and the Amazon app recognizes the products and saves them in your search history, where they can be added to the shopping cart or saved for later.
— The launch of Amazon Student on Amazon.co.uk was announced, offering students six months of free Prime One-Day Delivery on millions of items, including books, laptops, housewares, kitchen equipment and more. At the end of the six-month free trial, students can convert to a discounted Amazon Prime membership for just £39 per year — less than half the standard cost of Amazon Prime.
— Amazon.in continued its rapid pace of category expansion, launching apparel, shoes, video games, music, luggage & bags, health & personal care, and sports, fitness and outdoors stores.
— Amazon Publishing announced the launch of a new German-language publishing program under the Amazon Publishing umbrella. The European Amazon Publishing team will acquire German-language fiction for publication in Kindle and print editions available on Amazon.
— Amazon announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire comiXology, the company that revolutionized the digital comics reading experience with their immersive Guided View technology and makes discovering, buying, and reading comic books and graphic novels easier and more fun than ever before. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.
— Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced its 42nd price reduction, lowering prices for Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3) by an average of 51 percent, reducing Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) prices by up to 40 percent and lowering Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS) prices by an average of 28 percent. To help customers continue to optimize their costs, AWS also introduced Cost Explorer, with advanced reporting, analytics and visualization tools that allow customers to easily view their costs, analyze trends and identify spending patterns.
— AWS announced that all four of AWS’s infrastructure Regions in the U.S., including AWS GovCloud (U.S.), have received a Department of Defense (DoD) Provisional Authorization, which recognizes the ability of AWS to meet the stringent security and compliance requirements to run DoD applications. This certification simplifies and speeds the process for DoD agencies to evaluate and adopt AWS, allowing more DoD agencies to use AWS’s secure, compliant infrastructure.
— AWS continued to expand the AWS Activate program, which helps startups launch and quickly scale their businesses on AWS. With AWS credits, training, support, forums, and exclusive offers from AWS partners, AWS Activate makes it easy for new companies to join some of the world’s fastest-growing startups who use AWS.
— AWS announced the broad availability of Amazon WorkSpaces, a fully managed desktop computing service in the cloud that allows end-users to access the documents, applications and resources they need with the device of their choice.
— AWS announced the broad availability of Amazon AppStream, a service that allows developers to stream resource-intensive applications, such as 3D games or interactive HD applications, from the cloud to a broad range of devices.
The following forward-looking statements reflect Amazon.com’s expectations as of April 24, 2014, and are subject to substantial uncertainty. Our results are inherently unpredictable and may be materially affected by many factors, such as fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, changes in global economic conditions and consumer spending, world events, the rate of growth of the Internet and online commerce, and the various factors detailed below.
Second Quarter 2014 Guidance
Net sales are expected to be between $18.1 billion and $19.8 billion, or to grow between 15% and 26% compared with second quarter 2013.
Operating income (loss) is expected to be between $(455) million and $(55) million, compared to $79 million in second quarter 2013.
This guidance includes approximately $455 million for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets, and it assumes, among other things, that no additional business acquisitions, investments, restructurings, or legal settlements are concluded and that there are no further revisions to stock-based compensation estimates.
A conference call will be webcast live today at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET, and will be available for at least three months at www.amazon.com/ir. This call will contain forward-looking statements and other material information regarding the Company’s financial and operating results.
These forward-looking statements are inherently difficult to predict. Actual results could differ materially for a variety of reasons, including, in addition to the factors discussed above, the amount that Amazon.com invests in new business opportunities and the timing of those investments, the mix of products sold to customers, the mix of net sales derived from products as compared with services, the extent to which we owe income taxes, competition, management of growth, potential fluctuations in operating results, international growth and expansion, the outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment and data center optimization, risks of inventory management, seasonality, the degree to which the Company enters into, maintains, and develops commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, payments risks, and risks of fulfillment throughput and productivity. Other risks and uncertainties include, among others, risks related to new products, services, and technologies, system interruptions, government regulation and taxation, and fraud. In addition, the current global economic climate amplifies many of these risks. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com’s financial results is included in Amazon.com’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
Our investor relations website is www.amazon.com/ir and we encourage investors to use it as a way of easily finding information about us. We promptly make available on this website, free of charge, the reports that we file or furnish with the SEC, corporate governance information (including our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics), and select press releases and social media postings.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box that plugs into your HDTV for easy and instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME, low-cost video rentals, and much more. Kindle Paperwhite is the world’s best-selling and most advanced e-reader. It features new display technology with higher contrast, the next generation built-in light, a faster processor, the latest touch technology, and exclusive new features designed from the ground up for readers. Kindle, the lightest and smallest Kindle, features improved fonts and faster page turns. The new Kindle Fire HDX features a stunning exclusive 7″ or 8.9″ HDX display, a quad-core 2.2 GHz processor, 2x more memory, and 11 hours of battery life, as well as exclusive new features of Fire OS 3.0 including X-Ray for Music, Second Screen, Prime Instant Video downloads, and the revolutionary new Mayday button. The all-new Kindle Fire HD includes an HD display, high-performance processor and dual speakers at a breakthrough price.