Amazon’s cloud and retail booming

Amazon retail and cloud computing sales rose in the first quarter, better than what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted.

The online bookseller said sales rose 23 percent to $35.7 billion, just beating analysts’ average estimate of $35.3 billion.

More fees from Amazon’s Prime shopping club and media streaming services, along with growing advertising revenue, also boosted results.

Profit, which has traditionally been fleeting at a company that focused on growth, was also ahead of expectations. Net income rose 41 percent to $724 million, or $1.48 per share, marking the eighth straight quarter that the company posted a net profit. Analysts on average were expecting $1.12 per share.

Amazon’s revenue has soared in recent years as shopping has moved online and businesses have moved their computing operations to the cloud, where Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the biggest player. AWS accounts for much of Amazon’s operating profit.

Amazon Prime, which offers fast shipping and video streaming to members, helped raise the company’s subscription sales 49 percent from a year earlier to $1.9 billion. Sign-ups have been key to Amazon’s strategy because Prime encourages shoppers to buy more goods, more often.

Sales from AWS, the company’s fast-growing business to host companies’ data and handle their computing in the cloud, rose 42.7 percent to $3.66 billion, matching the average analyst estimate.

Amazon posted an operating loss of $481 million in its international segment, which is four times its loss a year earlier for the segment. The company has said it is investing more than $5 billion in India to gain market share, and this month it announced plans for a retail marketplace in Australia.

Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said that a lot of the same playbook seen working in the US is being rolled out internationally.

Seattle-based Amazon forecast that operating income in the second quarter would be between $425 million and $1.075 billion, below the average estimate of $1.46 billion, according to FactSet StreetAccount.

The company forecast sales for the second quarter of between $35.25 billion and $37.75 billion, which includes an unfavourable impact of about $720 million from foreign exchange rates.