Amazon's net sales rose 38% year over year to land at $60.5 billion in the fourth quarter, which was at the top end of management's guidance range. Operating income soared 69% higher, rising above management's most optimistic projections. After backing out a $789 million one-time tax benefit from the bottom line, adjusted earnings rose 42% to $2.19 per diluted share. Analysts would have settled for earnings of $1.85 on sales in the neighborhood of $59.8 billion.
The Whole Foods Market buyout added $4.5 billion to Amazon's top line, slightly ahead of management guidance. In general, the integration of Whole Foods stores into Amazon's e-commerce business is going well.
"We've launched Whole Foods products on our Amazon website and the technical work continues to make Prime the Whole Foods Customer Rewards Program, and we expect to have more on that later in the year," said Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky on a conference call with analysts. "We've also added lockers and much more to come. So we're very happy with the initial results out of the team at Whole Foods down in Austin."
The Amazon steamroller keeps moving forward. Share prices have now risen 75% higher over the last 12 months, backed by fantastic business results.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Anders Bylund owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.