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04/29/2021

Amazon's profit more than triples as pandemic boom continues

Sales are up and they aren't slowing down as the e-giant prepares for its biggest shopping day of the year

Amazon's pandemic boom isn't showing signs of slowing down.

The company said Thursday that its first-quarter profit more than tripled from a year ago, fuelled by the growth of online shopping. It also posted revenue of more than US$100 billion, the second quarter in a row the company has passed that milestone.

Amazon is one of the few retailers that has benefited during the pandemic. As physical stores temporarily closed, people stuck at home turned to Amazon to buy groceries, cleaning supplies and more. That doesn't seem to be dying down.

In the first three months of this year, the company reported profit of $8.1 billion, compared to $2.5 billion the year before. Revenue jumped 44% to $108.5 billion. 

Amazon said revenue would remain at that level in the second quarter, expecting between $110 billion and $116 billion. Part of the reason why: It plans to hold Prime Day, its popular sales event, during the quarter. Amazon didn't specify a date for Prime Day, but said it would happen before the end of June.

Besides online shopping, Amazon's other businesses grew, too. Sales at its cloud-computing business, which helps power the online operations of Netflix, McDonald's and other companies, grew 32% in the quarter. And at its unit that includes its advertising business, where brands pay to get their products to show up first when shoppers search on the site, sales rose 77%.

The online shopping giant has been on a hiring spree to keep up with a surge in orders. It had 1.27 million employees at the end of March, adding more than 430,000 people in the last year.