Amazon Misses Earnings Expectations, Despite $510M Profit

Despite half a billion dollars in profit, Amazon missed Wall Street’s expectations for the quarter.
Posted at 10:31 AM, Jan 31, 2014

Amazon released its fourth quarter earnings Thursday. Despite a boost to sales over the holiday season, the company missed expectations.

Amazon reported net sales of $25.59 billion, up 20 percent from last quarter but still nearly half a billion dollars short of where Wall Street thought it would be — and, notably, the slowest growth rate Amazon has seen in years.

The company also cleared $510 million in profit — not always the case for an operation notoriously focused on the long game.

Analysts say the miss is thanks in part to slower-than-usual international growth. One suggests to Bloomberg this is especially apparent when it comes to Amazon's media offerings through its Prime subscription service.

"Video, MP3, music and books. A lot of that content that Amazon's been heavily investing in hasn't made its way into its international markets."

Speaking of Prime, Amazon discussed the possibility of raising its prices for the shipping-and-streaming service. Currently it runs $79 a year; executives say the price could increase by $20 to $40 to cover climbing fuel and transport costs. (Via The Verge)

Industry watchers are calling it a sensible move.

"Amazon really has a great value offering to consumers. I think that a 20-40 dollar increase, given the fact that they haven't raised prices on Amazon Prime in nine years, is fairly reasonable given the increases in shipping costs." (Via CNBC)

Whether consumers would feel the same remains to be seen.  And CNET points out it's not just Amazon and its customers who would feel such a change.

It could have knock-on effects on pure media competitors like Netflix. For those using Amazon Prime as a streaming subscription first, a hike would make Amazon the more expensive option of the two.

Such a hike isn't confirmed, for the moment. But there's always the cold, hard share price. It was down more than seven percent before the markets opened Friday. (Via Google)