Amazon sees profits rise despite recession

E-tailer Amazon has revealed a 9% increase in profits for the final three months of last year. It says net profit totalled $225m (£157m) in the fourth quarter, up from $207m (£145m) a year ago.

The company says it enjoyed a robust holiday shopping season and has not yet been hit hard by the cutback in spending by many consumers during the ongoing ecomnomic downturn.

Amazon says it will continue to offer low prices and free delivery deals to lure budget-conscious shoppers. The company saw its revenue increase 18% to $6.7bn (£4.7bn), and says it expects sales to rise in the first three months of 2009.

Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, said Kindle, the electronic-reading device it introduced in 2007 to encourage book, magazine and newspaper downloads, had boosted sales.

The e-tailer has been expanding its offerings over recent years and now sells products in over 30 categories ranging from hairdryers to jewellery.

In the UK, it launched a music download site last year.

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