This is Amazon's third consecutive quarterly profit, once a questionable concept. Profits were up 41% as Amazon reported earnings of $111 million, or $0.26 per share, compared with a loss of $10 million, or $0.03 per share, last year. Without the boost of foreign currency exchange rates, Amazon would have racked up $0.21 per share in earnings; remove stock-based compensation and other costs and you'd have $0.23 per share.
Revenue grew to $1.53 billion from $1.08 billion, with $87 million in foreign currency benefits. Without such benefits, sales grew 33%. The company's forward outlook is pretty spiffy. Amazon sees revenues of $6.45 billion to $6.85 billion in 2004, up from its previous expectation of $6.2 billion to $6.7 billion in sales.
Regardless, there's still the argument that this stock is hopelessly overvalued. There's also concern about the company's shrinking gross margin, due to its discounting strategy and that free shipping perk that many of us Amazon shoppers love so much.
A Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick, Amazon has continued to become respectable, lumped into the same category as Internet heavyweights eBay and Yahoo!
Add to that Amazon's announcement yesterday that it's opening a jewelry store. That will line it up to compete with other purveyors of online bling, including Tiffany
If anything about the current climate speaks well for Amazonian potential, other than a newly energized consumer with a healing line of credit (Fools, of course, control their credit impulses), it would be the sizzling rate of broadband adoption reported this week. With a high-speed connection, online shopping's like driving to the store, with no traffic, prime parking, an empty checkout line, and a really efficient cashier.
Although investors snubbed Amazon this morning, I certainly wouldn't discount the powers of this discounter, not yet. Is it a cheap stock? It's hard to make that argument. Is it going to keep growing, innovating, and tempting our pocketbooks? Oh, heck yeah. If Rick can admit his feelings, I'll step up my own: I've always had a crush on Amazon. But it's still a little difficult for me to commit.
Is this Amazon's time to shine? Or is it hopelessly expensive? Would you buy bling from the retailer? Tell the Fool community what you think on the Amazon discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. She's spent the last couple days fascinated with Amazon's new search and e-commerce project, A9.com (where, for some inexplicable reason, she first keyed up "Buck Rogers" as a test search).