Amazon sales top $108B as Bezos touts Prime and cloud growth

North America drove the lion's share of Amazon's quarterly sales

Amazon's first quarter sales have surpassed the retail, entertainment and tech giant's own projections, surging 44% to $108.5 billion. The company previously forecast sales in the range of $100 billion and $106 billion. 

Shares are expected to jump in Friday's session. 

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The majority of those sales came from the North America segment, which reported total revenue of $63.4 billion, up from $46.1 billion a year ago, and operating income of $3.45 billion, up from $1.31 billion. Meanwhile, international sales for the quarter were $30.6 billion, up from $19.1 billion a year ago. The international segment reported an operating profit of $1.25 billion compared to a loss of $398 million a year ago. 

Online store sales increased 44% to $52.9 billion, while physical retail sales slumped 16% to $3.9 billion. 

Overall, Amazon reported net income of $8.1 billion, or $15.79 per share, more than triple compared to $2.5 billion, or $5.01 per share, a year ago.

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos touted the strong growth of the company's Prime Video streaming service, which was used by over 175 million Prime members in the past year, with streaming hours up more than 70% year-over-year. Prime's paid subscribers now total over 200 million.  

Amazon Studios recently racked up a record 12 Academy Award nominations for "One Night in Miami," "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm," "Time," and "Sound of Metal" –  which took home two awards for Best Sound and Best Film Editing. 

Amazon's original titles also fared well at Golden Gloves with 10 nominations. Prime Video saw victories in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Supporting Role category with John Boyega for "Small Axe," and  Sacha Baron Cohen and his "Borat Subsequent Moviefilm" collecting honors for Best Actor and Best Picture in the Musical/Comedy category.

The company's slate of upcoming projects include a "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" remake created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Donald Glover, a young adult series called "The Summer I Turned Pretty" from writer Jenny Han, and sci-fi action film "The Tomorrow War" from Skydance Media starring Chris Pratt, which will premiere on July 2. 

Prime Video will also become the exclusive home for Thursday Night Football in 2023, the first streaming service to secure an exclusive national broadcast package from the NFL. 

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Bezos also praised the company's cloud platform, Amazon Web Services, which reported a 32% year-over-year increase in revenue to $13.5 billion. Operating income for the segment came in at $4.16 billion, up from $3.07 billion a year ago. 

"In just 15 years, AWS has become a $54 billion annual sales run rate business competing against the world’s largest technology companies, and its growth is accelerating," Bezos said. "Companies from Airbnb to McDonald’s to Volkswagen come to AWS because we offer what is by far the broadest set of tools and services available, and we continue to invent relentlessly on their behalf."

Some of the big companies and organizations that joined the AWS client roster in the quarter include DISH, the Walt Disney Company, the National Hockey League, and the PGA Tour.

"We love Prime Video and AWS, and we’re proud to have them in the family," Bezos added.

Amazon Web Services has been overseen by Andy Jassy, who will take over as the company's chief executive officer in the third quarter of 2021, when Bezos will step down from the role and transition into the role of executive chairman. 

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Looking ahead to the second quarter, Amazon expects its sales growth to continue, falling in the range of $110.0 billion and $116.0 billion. Operating income is expected to be between $4.5 billion and $8.0 billion. The company added that they anticipate approximately $1.5 billion in COVID-19 related costs.

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Amazon also expects to hold its highly anticipated annual shopping event, Prime Day, in the second quarter. 

"In many areas, July is a big vacation month. So it might be better to have for customers, sellers and vendors to experiment with a different time period," Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky told analysts on the company's earnings call Thursday. "We believe that it might be better timing later in [the second quarter], so that’s what we’re testing this year."

Shares of Amazon rose 3% in after-hours trading following the company's earnings announcement.