Amazon beats on top and bottom lines

Amazon beats on top and bottom lines

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy speaks at the Bloomberg Technology Summit in San Francisco on June 8, 2022.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amazon reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue for the first quarter, driven by growth in advertising and cloud computing. The stock ticked higher in extended trading.

Here’s how the company did:

  • Earnings per share: 98 cents vs. 83 cents expected by LSEG
  • Revenue: $143.3 billion vs. $142.5 billion expected by LSEG

Wall Street is also watching several other numbers in the report:

  • Amazon Web Services: $25 billion vs. $24.5 billion in revenue, according to StreetAccount
  • Advertising: $11.8 billion vs. 11.7 billion in revenue, according to StreetAccount

For the second quarter, Amazon said it expects revenue of $144 billion to $149 billion, representing growth of 7% to 11%. Analysts were expecting growth of 12% to $150.1 billion, according to LSEG.

Sales at AWS accelerated 17% in the first quarter to $25 billion, topping Wall Street’s forecast for sales growth of 12% to $24.5 billion. For the past year, growth in AWS has slowed, as businesses trimmed their cloud spend. But Amazon executives have said they’re seeing cost optimizations taper off, and they’ve spoken optimistically about how the rise in generative artificial intelligence can be a boon for its cloud business.

Operating income soared more than 200% in the period to $15.3 billion, far outpacing revenue growth, the latest sign that the company’s cost-cutting measures and focus on efficiency is bolstering its bottom line. AWS accounted for 62% of total operating profit.

Amazon’s earnings growth has been driven in part by widespread cost-cutting, tweaks to its fulfillment operations, and the stabilizing of cloud spending. CEO Andy Jassy has become more disciplined in its spending, while growing profitable services like advertising, cloud computing, Prime memberships and its third-party marketplace.

The company has laid off more than 27,000 employees since late 2022, with the cuts bleeding into 2024. During the first quarter, Amazon let go hundreds of staffers in its health and AWS businesses.

Amazon’s advertising unit saw sales surge 24% to $11.8 billion, just above consensus estimates. The company’s ad business, which grew faster than retail or cloud computing, has become an increasingly important profit driver for Amazon and has emerged as a main player in online advertising.

That market overall started growing again after a brutal 2022, when brands reeled in spending to cope with inflation and rising interest rates. Meta, Snap and Google parent Alphabet all reported first-quarter results last week and showed better-than-expected revenue growth, which was primarily driven by improvements across their ad businesses.

Revenue from third-party seller services, which includes commissions collected by Amazon, fulfillment, shipping fees and other charges, continued to surge. Sales in the unit grew 16% year over year to $34.5 billion.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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