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Amazon tops 540K employees after swallowing Whole Foods in $13.7B deal

28 October 2017, 01:10 | Melanie Burgess

Amazon's Profits Don't Come Cheap

Amazon's bet on groceries, drones and films can't dent profit

But any worries about the quarter were quickly forgotten when the e-commerce giant announced quarterly results well beyond management's outlook.

Although AWS has continued to be a massive profit driver, accounting for almost 10% of total revenue in Q3, sales growth for the cloud service actually slowed down for the eighth straight quarter. That figure includes $1.3 billion from Whole Foods Market, acquired August 28. Management had guided for third-quarter operating income to be between a loss of $400 million and a gain of $300 million.

Amazon's expansion into new sectors and markets has lifted the company's share price and made Bezos one of the world's richest individuals - briefly the richest at one point, according to one survey.

Driving the revenue growth was AWS sales which rose 42 per cent year-on-year to $4.58 billion.

For the fourth quarter, the company expects revenue between $56 billion and $60.5 billion, up as much as 38 percent from the year before, and above what analysts expected.

For the first time, Amazon broke its sales out for its business of online retail and for physical bookstores as well as its Whole Foods stores. The e-commerce and cloud computing giant crushed Wall Street's expectations and its own guidance across the board.

Impressively, Amazon has managed to increase the pace of growth from its online stores, where sales increased by 22% over the prior year. "Of those services, Subscriptions (which includes Prime) and Other (which includes advertising) are its fastest-growing businesses".

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In addition, Bezos said active customers on Alexa-enabled devices are up five times over the same period past year.

"Customers have purchased tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices..."

This is good news given that Amazon just rolled out an array of new Alexa-enabled devices just before the holiday season. The move is interesting, as I am sure there are not many people with Amazon Echo products who do not also have Prime.

In its release, Amazon vowed to continue the downward pressure on prices at often-pricey Whole Foods, saying "the two companies together will pursue the vision of making high-quality, natural and organic food affordable to everyone".

Operating income sank 40% to $347 million, and net income rose to $256 million, far above analysts' expectations. Year-to-date, AMZN has gained 29.64%, versus a 16.07% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

Amazon now pays developers out of its own pocket to create the skills, which Echo users are then able to download and install onto their Alexa at no charge.

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