Amazon.com Q4 sales at $21.27 bn, up 22 percent

Amazon.com’s net sales increased 22% to $21.27 billion in the fourth quarter, 2012 compared with $17.43 billion in fourth quarter, 2011.

Operating cash flow increased percent to $4.18 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.90 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2011. Free cash flow decreased 81 percent to $395 million for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.09 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2011.

Net income decreased 45% to $97 million in the fourth quarter, or $0.21 per diluted share, compared with $177 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2011.

“We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

“After 5 years, eBooks is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70 percent last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5 percent. We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever expanding ecosystem and selection,” commented Jeff Bezos.

Net sales increased 27% to $61.09 billion, compared with $48.08 billion in 2011. Net loss was $39 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, compared with net income of $631 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, in 2011.

For the second year in a row, Amazon’s tablet was the most popular item for customers – Kindle Fire HD continued its run as the #1 best-selling, most gifted, and most wished for product across the millions of items available on Amazon worldwide. At year-end, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle held the top four spots on the Amazon worldwide best seller charts since launch.

Amazon’s digital media selection has grown to over 23 million movies, TV shows, songs, magazines, books, audiobooks, and popular apps and games in 2012, an increase from 19 million at year-end 2011.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of its newest Asia Pacific Region in Sydney, Australia, now available for multiple services including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3), and Amazon Relational Database Service (RDS). Sydney joins Singapore and Tokyo as the third Region in Asia Pacific and the ninth Region worldwide.

AWS announced that SAP Business Suite is now certified to run on the AWS cloud platform. Enterprises running SAP Business Suite can now leverage the on-demand, pay as you go AWS platform to support thousands of concurrent users in production without making costly capital expenditures for their underlying infrastructure. AWS also announced that SAP HANA, SAP’s in-memory database and platform, is certified to run on AWS and is available for purchase via AWS Marketplace. AWS continued its rapid pace of innovation by launching 159 new services and features in 2012. This is nearly double the services and features launched in 2011.

In terms of 1Q, 2013 guidance, the company’s net sales are expected to be between $15.0 – $16.6 billion, or to grow between 14 -26 percent compared with first quarter 2012. Operating income (loss) is expected to be between $(285) million and $65 million, compared to $192 million in the prior year period.

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