ONLINE RETAILER Amazon sold a lot of things in the fourth quarter of 2013, but missed analyst estimates.
Net sales grew by about 20 percent to $25.6bn, up from $21.3bn in the same period last year, and Amazon said that without foreign currency charges, which were $258m for the year, net sales would have grown by 22 percent.
The firm said that it made a net profit of $239m during the three month period, up from $97m. This and gains in the cloud business and other areas made Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos happy.
"It's a good time to be an Amazon customer. You can now read your Kindle gate-to-gate, get instant on-device tech support via our revolutionary Mayday button, and have packages delivered to your door even on Sundays," said the founder and CEO of Amazon.com.
"In just the last weeks, Forrester, Yougov, and Foresee have all ranked Amazon [number one] - and we believe we're just scratching the surface of what world-class customer service can be."
Despite not meeting expectations Amazon does have a lot to crow about. In the Christmas quarter, Amazon signed a lot more people up to Prime, its paid premium delivery service. It also capitalised on Kindle sales with the above mentioned Mayday button, an on-demand support person contact that apparently was hammered on 25 December.
Customers will also have benefitted from features like Autorip, and Amazon said that its Cloud player users boosted their collections with two billion digital tracks.
Web services, the under the cover business of Amazon cloud rental, also prospered, but looking forward Amazon made some slightly gloomy predictions.
In its guidance for the first quarter it predicted an operating loss of around $200m, compared to the $181m loss it reported in the first quarter of 2013. µ