Amazon reports first quarterly net loss in years

Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:40pm EDT
 
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By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc reported its first quarterly net loss in more than five years on Thursday as the world's largest Internet retailer spent heavily and suffered from an economic slowdown in Europe.

Amazon shares slipped slightly to $220.75 in after-hours trading after the results.

The company said its third-quarter net loss was $274 million, or 60 cents a share, versus net income of $63 million, or 14 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2011. Part of the loss related to an impairment charge from Amazon's investment in daily deal company LivingSocial.

Third-quarter revenue was $13.81 billion, up 27 percent from a year earlier, Amazon also said.

Amazon was expected to lose 8 cents a share in the third quarter on revenue of $13.9 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The last time Amazon reported a quarterly net loss was in the third quarter of 2003, according to Thomson Reuters data.

For the crucial fourth-quarter holiday shopping period, Amazon forecast revenue that missed analysts' expectations. The company also gave a wide forecast for operating income in the period - and the mid-point of the range was lower than some analysts' estimates.

"There's increased competition from mass merchants and big box retailers embedded in that guidance," said RJ Hottovy, an equity analyst at Morningstar. "There's a lot of competition this holiday, and it's not clear how this will play out, even for smart operators like Amazon."   Continued...

 
A box from Amazon.com is pictured on the porch of a house in Golden, Colorado July 23, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking