Amazon beats holiday-quarter sales estimates, shares up 10 pct

Amazon boxes are seen stacked for delivery in the Manhattan borough of New York City. (Reuters)

Amazon.com Inc on Thursday beat analysts’ estimates for fourth-quarter revenue, as its efforts to speed up delivery helped attract more shoppers during the holiday season, sending its shares up 10 percent.

Retailers usually generate a majority of their annual sales and profit during the holiday period.

The company forecast net sales in the range of $69 billion and $73 billion for the first quarter. Analysts were expecting revenue of $71.65 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Net sales in North America, its biggest market, jumped 21.6 percent to $53.67 billion during the fourth quarter. Analysts had expected revenue of $52.23 billion from the segment.

Revenue from its lucrative cloud computing unit Amazon Web Services (AWS), which sells data storage and computing power in the cloud, surged 34 percent to $9.95 billion. Analysts had expected $9.84 billion.

Amazon’s total operating expenses surged 21.8 percent during the quarter to $83.56 billion.

Net sales rose 21 percent to $87.44 billion in the fourth quarter ended December 31 , beating estimates of $86.02 billion.

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