Blockbuster movie helps Amazon's profits climb

ONLINE retail titan Amazon has reported a 68 per cent leap in worldwide profits for the first quarter after double-digit sales growth in the United States and its international arm.

The release of the latest Twilight Saga blockbuster movie on DVD led the best seller list in the UK, contributing to a 45 per cent hike in sales across Amazon's international arm.

Amazon notched up net income of $299 million (195m) across the group, up from $177m a year earlier.

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The UK arm – which has warehouses at Gourock in Inverclyde, and Glenrothes in Fife, employing hundreds of staff – reported strong demand for The Twilight Saga: New Moon DVD featuring Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, and Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker.

Amazon's global net sales grew by 46 per cent to $7.13 billion, led by a 47 per cent leap in the US and Canada. Its first-quarter earnings were better than most analysts expected, but the firm's predictions for the second quarter suggest sales growth may slow.

The Kindle lectronic book reader remains its worldwide top selling product, with the Kindle selection now at 500,000 titles.

But a major competitor to Amazon's e-reader has launched since the end of the first quarter – Apple's iPad tablet device, which can wirelessly download books.