Amazon announced its lower-than-expected fourth quarter earnings yesterday. Net income decreased 45% to $97 million in the fourth quarter, or $0.21 per diluted share, compared with $177 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, in fourth quarter 2011.
Net sales increased 22% to $21.27 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $17.43 billion in the fourth quarter 2011. Analysts expected earnings of $0.27 cents a share, on $22.26 billion in sales. The expectations of course are high because the fourth quarter includes the holiday shopping season.
“We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “After five years, eBooks is a multi-billion-dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70% last year. In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a bookseller, up just 5%. We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever-expanding ecosystem and selection.”
Operating cash flow increased 7% to $4.18 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $3.90 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2011. Free cash flow decreased 81% to $395 million for the trailing twelve months, compared with $2.09 billion for the trailing twelve months ended December 31, 2011.
For the Year 2012
Net sales increased 27% to $61.09 billion, compared with $48.08 billion in 2011. Excluding the $854 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the year, net sales grew 29% compared with 2011.
Operating income decreased 22% to $676 million, compared with $862 million in 2011. The unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the year on operating income was $14 million.
Net loss was $39 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, compared with net income of $631 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, in 2011.
Graph Image Credit: TechCrunch