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Amazon posts sharply lower Q3 earnings per share

Net income cut in half, operating income drops $1.3 billion, shipping costs rise 20%

A bottom-line clunker of a quarter (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves) Inc. late Thursday reported third-quarter earnings per share of $6.12 per diluted share, well below analyst estimates that ranged from $8.92 to $9.10 per diluted share and about half of third-quarter 2020’s EPS results.

Operating income fell to $4.9 billion from $6.2 billion, the Seattle-based e-tailer said. Revenue rose 15% to $110.8 billion. Shipping costs in the quarter rose 20% year-on-year to $18.1 billion, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) said.

Net income fell to $3.2 billion in the quarter from $6.3 billion in the third quarter of 2020, a period when fulfillment and delivery activity was off the charts as the COVID-19 pandemic raged across America.

In after-hours trading Thursday, Amazon shares were down $177.58 a share, a drop of more than 5%. Shares closed higher in regular trading by 1.6%, closing at $3,446.57 a share.

CEO Andy Jassy, presiding over his first complete reporting quarter since succeeding Jeff Bezos on July 5, said the results underscore Amazon’s willingness to invest heavily for the long term even if causes short-term bottom-line pain. Jassy noted, for example, that Amazon has nearly doubled the size of its fulfillment network since the pandemic began in March 2020.

The company also expects to incur several billion dollars in additional expenses as it works through global supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, the impact of higher wages on its bottom line, and higher freight and shipping costs, Jassy said.

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Mark Solomon

Formerly the Executive Editor at DC Velocity, Mark Solomon joined FreightWaves as Managing Editor of Freight Markets. Solomon began his journalistic career in 1982 at Traffic World magazine, ran his own public relations firm (Media Based Solutions) from 1994 to 2008, and has been at DC Velocity since then. Over the course of his career, Solomon has covered nearly the whole gamut of the transportation and logistics industry, including trucking, railroads, maritime, 3PLs, and regulatory issues. Solomon witnessed and narrated the rise of Amazon and XPO Logistics and the shift of the U.S. Postal Service from a mail-focused service to parcel, as well as the exponential, e-commerce-driven growth of warehouse square footage and omnichannel fulfillment.