Categories: Tech News

Amazon shares fall on forecast of slow holiday sales

Shocking Wall Street, Inc. projected the slowest holiday quarter growth in the company’s history. Shares fell about 14% in premarket trading.

Shocking Wall Street, Inc. projected the slowest holiday quarter growth in the company’s history. Shares fell about 14% in premarket trading.

The Seattle-based company, which made record profits during the pandemic, said sales for the current period will rise by only 2% to 8% as shoppers cut spending amid economic uncertainty. Either number would be the slowest increase ever for Amazon’s “peak” season, which typically finds warehouse workers scrambling to get orders in on time. And the other companies of the e-commerce giant are not coming to the rescue. Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing division and the advertising unit reported muted third-quarter revenue growth by its lofty standards.

“We are taking actions to tighten our belts,” Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said Thursday on a call with reporters after the results were released. Olsavsky said Amazon would pause hiring at some companies and leave products and services in areas where the company determines its money would be better spent elsewhere.

The world’s largest online retailer had spent this year adjusting to a sharp slowdown in e-commerce growth as shoppers returned to pre-pandemic habits. Amazon delayed store openings, froze hiring in its retail group and shut down experimental projects. Some investors had hoped that the company’s dominant market share in the United States and Europe, the massive scale of its logistics business and cost cutting would insulate Amazon from a slowdown in consumer spending. The forecast suggests not, and Amazon joined other high-flying tech giants like Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to report disappointing results.

Asked what the upcoming shopping season will look like, Olsavsky said Amazon is “optimistic about the holidays, but we’re realistic that a number of forces are weighing on people’s wallets.”

Amazon projected revenue of $140 billion to $148 billion in the fourth quarter, well below analysts’ average estimate of $156 billion. Some independent sellers on Amazon’s website, which account for the majority of unit sales, are bracing for a tough holiday season. Adobe Inc. forecast that U.S. e-commerce sales in November and December would increase only 2.5% from a year earlier.

In the period ended Sept. 30, revenue rose 15% to $127.1 billion, Amazon said in a statement. Analysts had expected sales of $127.6 billion. Profit was 28 cents a share, compared with 31 cents a year earlier, adjusted for a 20-to-1 stock split that took effect in June.

Amazon said changes in exchange rates, mainly a strengthening U.S. dollar that made the company’s sales in other currencies less lucrative, reduced its revenue in the quarter by about $5 billion . The company expects these headwinds to continue into the current period, contributing to the weak guidance.

Despite CEO Andy Jassy’s promise to cut costs, Amazon’s expenses rose nearly 18% to $125 billion. It was the fifth consecutive quarter that the company’s expenses have risen faster than revenue growth. The number of full-time and part-time employees increased by 5% to more than 1.54 million.

“The core e-commerce business has come under pressure from changing shopping habits from the boom seen during the pandemic and a consumer with less disposable income,” said Matt Britzman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “Clearly, Amazon went too big, too soon, in its expansion plans and has had to put the brakes on and then some to try to control costs.”

Technology and content expenses, a rough measure of the company’s spending on research and development as well as AWS, rose 35%, the biggest jump since 2018. This partly reflects higher stock payouts big things Amazon is doing to hire and retain employees in a competitive market. for technologists.

Still, Amazon returned to profitability after two quarters of losses, with net income of $2.9 billion. The earlier losses reflected declines in the value of the company’s approximately 17% stake in Rivian Automotive Inc. Shares of the electric car maker fell sharply after a November 2021 initial public offering, but have leveled off in recent months.

Sales at AWS rose 27% to $20.5 billion. Analysts, on average, had projected $21 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It was the cloud unit’s slowest year-over-year growth since Amazon began breaking out the division’s performance in 2014.

The backlog of cash that companies and governments have pledged to spend on the cloud unit in the future rose to $104 billion, although Amazon executives said business customers had also asked the company for help to reduce its bills for the service.

Revenue from the advertising unit rose 25% to $9.5 billion, about half the growth rate it has posted on average since Amazon began reporting results for the division. Online store revenue rose 7.1% to $53.5 billion.

Shares fell in early trading before New York markets opened on Friday after closing at $110.96. The stock had fallen 33% this year through Thursday’s close.


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