shrugs off recession, boosts earnings, sales

San Francisco, April 24 (Inditop) posted an 18 percent boost in sales and a 24 percent rise in profits as the online retail giant shrugged off the effects of the economic downturn.

The Seattle-based retailer said it earned $177 million in the first quarter, compared to $143 million a year ago. Sales were up to $4.89 billion compared to $4.13 billion a year ago.

International sales went up 15 percent from the first quarter of 2008 to $2.31 billion in the same period this year. The company said that figure would have been 28 percent if it weren’t for unfavourable currency exchange rates.

But the company said the strongest boost to its earnings came from sales of its new electronic book reader, the Kindle, which sold more than 300,000 units.

“We’re grateful and excited that Kindle sales have exceeded our most optimistic expectations,” Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said.