Amazon delivers surprise quarterly loss

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Internet retailer Amazon has reported a surprise loss for the second quarter as it suffered from weak international sales and the cost of expanding its range of services.

The group, which is investing in gadgets like it Kindle tablets and digital content, reported a loss of $7 million (£4.5m) for the three months to June, compared with a $7m profit a year earlier.

Losses per share came in at 2 cents – analysts had been expecting earnings per share of 5 cents.

Revenues rose 22 per cent to $15.7bn, in line with Wall Street forecasts, but the heavy spending on content such as e-books and MP3 music took its toll on margins.

The tough economic conditions across much of Europe also weighed on the firm, with international sales grow of 13 per cent lagging behind the 30 per cent jump experienced in North America.

Amazon also issued a cautious outlook for the third quarter, forecasting revenues of between $15.45bn and $17.15bn. Analysts had pencilled in a revenue figure of about $17bn.