Amazon slips back into the red in Q1

Amazon.com Inc. saw its financial results slide back into the red in its first fiscal quarter after a boost from its online stores overseas failed to offset soft post-holiday sales, the company reported Tuesday.

The online retailer posted US$847 million in revenue for the three months ended March 31, a 21 percent increase over $700 million in revenue reported for the same period in 2001, the company said in a statement.

Including restructuring charges and other items, Amazon reported a net loss for the quarter of $23 million, or $0.06 per share. In the same quarter a year ago it posted a net loss including charges of $234 million, or $0.66 per share.

Excluding charges, Amazon reported a net loss for the quarter just ended of $5 million, or $0.01 per share, the company said.

Amazon posted its first-ever net profit in January when it released results for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2001. The company forecasted Tuesday a 15 percent to 22 percent increase in revenue for the second quarter and pro forma operating income of between $5 million and $15 million, according to the statement.

The company's core books, music and movies segment showed an 8 percent growth in sales year on year.

In addition, business overseas jumped during the period, with sales from Amazon's U.K., German, French and Japanese sites rising a combined 71 percent over last year's first quarter. Total international sales for the quarter were $226 million.

"The European stores remain strong," said Warren Jenson, chief financial officer at Amazon, during a conference call with press and analysts. "Growth in Germany and the U.K. was in excess of 50 percent."

The company continued its price cutting measures by discounting books priced at $15 or more by 30 percent. Amazon had previously set a minimum price of $20 for the 30 percent reduction.

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