Kindle spurs Amazon to solid quarter

Online retail giant had good Christmas with strong Kindle sales.

Amazon's e-book reader Kindle helped boost the online retailers fourth quarter results.

Of course, Christmas falls into Amazon's fourth quarter, and the firm does not appear to have suffered the same slowdown in sales that other retailers have. Net sales at the firm, which now include watches, toys, electronics, digital media and e-books, increased by 29 per cent, against the same period in 2007, rising from almost $15 billion (10.5 billion) to $20 billion (14 billion). Net income increased by 36 per cent to $645 million (450 million), compared with the $476 million (332 million) reported in 2007.

During the year, the firm also increased the range of titles available for its Kindle book reader device, and according to its chief executive, sales of the unit were very strong in the run-up to Christmas.

The firm said today that net profit totalled $225m (157) in the fourth quarter, representing significant growth against the $207m (145) reported a year ago.

"We remain relentlessly focused on serving customers with low prices, great selection and free shipping offers," said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive at Amazon.com. "We're particularly grateful for the unusually strong demand for Kindle in the fourth quarter."

Other highlights singled out by Amazon in its results include the launches of Amazon.co.uk's MP3 music service, and Cloudfront, a pay-as-you-use web service delivered through the cloud.

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