Facebook Twitter

Amazon first quarter loss smaller than expected

SHARE Amazon first quarter loss smaller than expected

SEATTLE — Amazon.com will reach its profitability goals by sticking to its core business — selling everything from books to tools over the Internet — but would also like to form more partnerships with other retailers, chief executive officer Jeff Bezos said.

"For six years we've focused on building the best possible online shopping experience entirely with our own customers in mind," Bezos said in a conference call to analysts Tuesday as the company released first-quarter earnings results.

But as companies such as Toys 'R' Us's online unit and Borders Group have announced online retailing partnerships with Amazon, "it's become increasingly clear that other companies (are interested) in our platform," Bezos said.

The move would essentially mean that Amazon was selling its Internet retailing formula rather than merchandise.

"I think it's a very natural direction for them to move in," said Jeffrey Fieler, an analyst with Bear Stearns, citing the company's well-known brand name and system of online sales.

On Tuesday, Amazon reported a 22 percent increase in sales and a narrower-than-expected loss for the first quarter.

Investors responded by sending shares down 66 cents to $15.02 in early trading Wednesday on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

The Seattle-based Internet retailer reported a net loss of $234 million, or 66 cents a share, for the first quarter, compared with a net loss of $308 million, or 90 cents a share, in the same period last year.

"Our focus this year is profitability," chief financial officer Warren Jenson said in a conference call. "We're very pleased with where we are."

Excluding one-time items such as stock options, acquisitions and losses on investments, the company posted a pro forma net loss of $76 million, or 21 cents a share, for the three months ended March 31, compared with a loss of $122 million, or 35 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call were expecting a loss of 24 cents a share, excluding items.

Net sales grew to $700 million, up from $574 million last year.