Amazon sales nearly double to $51B in first quarter

Amazon sales nearly double to $51B in first quarter

April 26 (UPI) — Amazon’s sales nearly doubled in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, a quarterly report released Thursday indicates.

The online retailer announced net sales rose 43 percent to $51 billion in the first quarter, up from $35.7 billion in the first quarter of 2017, driven by its cloud computing business Amazon Web Services.

AWS’ net sales increased from $3.6 billion in 2017 to $5.4 billion in the first quarter of 2018.

“AWS had the unusual advantage of a seven-year head start before facing like-minded competition, and the team has never slowed down,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said.

Amazon’s stock increased 7 percent in after-hours trading Thursday following the release of the earnings report.

The company announced during an earnings call Thursday it will increase the annual price of its Prime subscription service from $99 to $119 beginning May 11 for new members and June 16 for renewing members.

“The value of Prime to customers has never been greater. And the cost is also high, as we pointed out especially with shipping options and digital benefits, we continue to see rises in costs,” Amazon Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said.

Bezos announced the service exceeded 100 million members in his annual letter to shareholders earlier this month, following another report that more than 5 billion items were shipped worldwide using the service in 2017.