Amazon posts first unprofitable quarter since 2015 with loss of $3.8 BILLION and slashes its forecast sending shares tumbling 10% as lockdown-lifting batters online shopping sales
- Amazon on Thursday reported quarterly loss of $3.8B, its first since 2015
- Online retail sales are following as life returns to normal from pandemic
- Amazon’s has also been hit by higher costs for delivery and warehousing
- Company expects to lose as much as $1 billion in operating income this quarter
Amazon delivered a disappointing quarter and outlook on Thursday as the ecommerce giant was swamped by higher costs and online shopping declined in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shares of the company fell 10 percent in extended trading after the company reported its first net loss since 2015, a $3.8 billion hit due in part to its investment in Rivian Automotive.
After a long-running surge in sales during the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, Amazon’s outlook has dimmed as life returns to normal.
The company’s expenses swelled as it offered higher pay to attract workers during a labor shortage, and even then it could not fully staff warehouses.
Amazon founder and chairman Jeff Bezos is seen above. Amazon delivered a disappointing quarter and outlook on Thursday
Shares of the company fell 10 percent in extended trading after the company reported its first net loss since 2015
A fulfillment center in New York City voted to create Amazon’s first U.S. union, a result the retailer is contesting.
And higher fuel prices are eating into consumers’ disposable income while making delivery more expensive for Amazon.
The Seattle-based company parried by raising fees. Partway through the just-ended first quarter, Amazon hiked the price of its fast-shipping club Prime, which has garnered more than 200 million subscribers, by 17 percent to $139 annually in the United States.
Effective Thursday, it is imposing an average 5 percent fuel and inflation surcharge on merchants that use Amazon’s U.S. warehousing services as well.
Amazon’s forecast shows these actions may not be enough to counter such challenges.
The company expects to lose as much as $1 billion in operating income this quarter, or make as much as $3 billion. That’s down from an operating profit of $7.7 billion in the same period last year.
‘The pandemic and subsequent war in Ukraine have brought unusual growth and challenges,’ said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in a statement.
Jassy said the company has finally met its warehouse staffing and capacity needs, but it still has work to do in improving productivity.
‘This may take some time, particularly as we work through ongoing inflationary and supply chain pressures, but we see encouraging progress on a number of customer experience dimensions, including delivery speed performance as we’re now approaching levels not seen since the months immediately preceding the pandemic in early 2020,’ he said.
An Amazon Prime delivery van is driven in Garden Grove, California. Higher fuel prices are eating into consumers’ disposable income while making delivery more expensive for Amazon
The division that Jassy ran before becoming CEO last year, Amazon Web Services (AWS), has traditionally been a bright spot for the company. The unit increased revenue 37 percent to $18.4 billion, slightly ahead of analysts’ estimates.
In retail, the e-commerce giant has had mixed results turning to brick-and-mortar stores to power food delivery and meet consumers wherever they wished to shop.
Amazon said in March it planned to close all 68 of its bookstores, pop-ups and other home goods shops, as it focuses on grocery stores.
It recently automated two Whole Foods Market locations to make them cashierless. The company’s physical store sales grew 17 percent to $4.6 billion.
Still, Amazon’s outlook reflects broader industry challenges.
U.S. government data shows that online retail sales fell 6.4 percent in March after declining 3.5 percent the month prior, the first back-to-back drop since the last two months of 2020.
Some economists attributed the change to household budgets strained from higher gasoline prices, while others blamed shifting seasonal patterns.
Just this week, a major Amazon delivery partner, United Parcel Service Inc, said it expected e-commerce delivery growth to slow.
Amazon projected net sales of between $116 billion and $121 billion for the second quarter. Analysts were expecting $125.48 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Net sales was $116.4 billion in the first quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $116.3 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Net loss was $3.8 billion, or $7.56 per share, compared with a profit of $8.1 billion, or $15.79 per share, a year earlier.
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