Amazon and Microsoft top forecasts with strong sales

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said it had been a 'busy few months' for the group. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said it had been a 'busy few months' for the group. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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ONLINE retail giant Amazon is reaping the rewards of heavy investment to turn its fortunes around with a better than expected surge in sales.

Turnover leapt by 24 per cent in the third quarter and losses of $41 million (£25.3m) were down sharply on the $274m seen a year earlier.

The world’s largest online retailer, which has more than 6,000 permanent staff across its UK operations, has now posted three consecutive quarters of losses after ramping up investment, but cheered investors as it said it expected fourth-quarter sales to rise by a further 10 to 25 per cent.

Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos said it had been a “busy few months” for the group after launching new Kindle e-readers and tablets, as well as expanding its warehouse network to reduce shipping costs and adding robots to boost efficiency in delivering orders.

The group gave no breakdown on figures for Britain, but Amazon UK managing director Christopher North moved to defend the firm against criticism over taxes paid in Britain and the threat to high street rivals. He said the group’s growth was “really good for the UK”.

The Amazon update, which saw shares leap as much as 10 per cent in early trading, followed forecast-beating earnings from technology titan Microsoft, which reported a 17 per cent rise in third quarter net income to $5.24 billion. Microsoft said revenues rose 16 per cent in the quarter, with sales of its Surface tablets hitting $400m