Strong sales growth at Amazon, fails to prevent profit fall

<p>Net sales for Amazon.com&#39;s fourth quarter, ending 31st December, were $3.99bn, an increase of 34% over the fourth quarter 2005, the company has announced. For the whole year, sales were $10.71bn, a 26% increase from $8.49 billion in 2005.</p><p>Operating income was $197m in the fourth quarter, an increase of 20%, while operating income overall in 2006 decreased 10% to $389m. For the fourth quarter, sales in the media segment were up 25% to $2.5bn. Sales in the international segments, including the UK, German, Japanese, French and Chinese websites, were $1.78bn, up 37% from fourth quarter 2005.</p><p>Excluding the favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, international net sales growth was 28%. The segment&#39;s operating income rose less dramatically, to $106m from $93m a year earlier. Over the full year, sales across its international websites rose to $4.8bn, against $3.78bn in 2005. Operating income was flat at $270m.</p><p>&quot;We had a record holiday season,&quot; Bezos said, &quot;with accelerating revenue growth and significant sequential improvement in operating leverage.&quot; For the first quarter of 2007, net sales are expected to be between $2.85bn and $3bn, Amazon reported. For the year, the company expects net sales between $13bn and $13.7bn.</p>