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Amazon’s strong quarter indicative of e-commerce strength


SEATTLE , which last month reported earnings that doubled from the same period last year. —Growing concerns about a slowing economy don’t seem to be bothering online retailer

For its second quarter, Amazon posted earnings of $158 million, compared to $78 million in 2007. Even more impressive was a 41% increase in revenues of $4.06 billion compared to just $2.89 billion last year. Sanford Bernstein analyst Jeff Lindsay described Amazon’s numbers as “a very impressive performance” given the current economy.

Amazon also produced unexpectedly strong sales in North America, which was supposed to be its weak spot. Sales increased 35% for the quarter, down from 38% last year, but higher than projected. International sales were far better, jumping 47%.

The company also defied the odds by continuing to offer free shipping at a time when gas prices are nearly $1 higher than they were last summer. The company did absorb a 38% increase in shipping costs of $314 million for the quarter, but Amazon ceo Jeff Bezos said no-cost shipping could sway some customers to buy online instead of driving to stores.

“Since we offer free shipping and Amazon Prime offers fast free shipping, the burden is on us to make sure we do it in a way that’s economical so that customers can continue to enjoy those free shipping offers,” said Bezos. “We clearly have no intention of changing those.”

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