Following a saw-toothed day, Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) finished lower -2 percent to $3312.53. On Tuesday, the e-commerce firm reported record quarterly earnings and concurrently announced that its founder and leader, Jeff Bezos, would step down in the third quarter of 2021 as chief executive. Jeff Bezos is going to hand over to Andy Jassy, who already leads the cloud division of Cloud Amazon Web Services (AWS). For his part, as he explained in a letter to the group’s staff, Jeff Bezos would assume the position of Executive Chairman to concentrate his resources and focus on new products and initiatives.
The U.S. e-commerce giant announced the shift in governance at the same time that it issued its fourth-quarter accounts, which came out beyond the forecasts of financial analysts. Changes in consumption and work habits triggered by the coronavirus epidemic appeared to support the group. Over the past year, this has led to a sharp growth in the use of home delivery, online streaming, and telecommuting.
According to IBES/Refinitiv results, Amazon’s sales grew to $125.56 billion from $87.44 billion a year ago (up 44 percent), compared to an average of $119.7 billion. This is the first time that the company has reached $100 billion in quarterly revenues in its history (a record also broken in the same quarter by Apple).
At $7.2 billion, or $14.09 per share, earnings broke a high for the third straight year, compared to $6.47 per share in the fourth quarter of 2019. Only $7.23 in earnings per share was forecast by the Refinitiv consensus. Amazon’s net profit for the fiscal year 2020 almost doubled to a reported $21.3 billion from $11.59 billion in 2019. Compared with $280.5 billion in 2019, annual revenue hit $386.1 billion (up 37 percent).
Management predicts revenues of between $100 billion and $106 billion for the current first quarter of 2021, down from the fourth quarter of 2020, but up 33 percent to 40 percent from the first quarter of 2019. Just $95.8 billion in revenue had been forecast by analysts.