Amazon recorded a 26% increase in sales driven by a surge in shopping by consumers worried about leaving home during the coronavirus pandemic. Chief executive Jeff Bezos said in a statement that Amazon intends to ramp up spending to address the challenges and business opportunities presented by the coronavirus, adding, “If you’re a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we’re not thinking small.”
Sales soared to a record high $75.5 billion in the first quarter, up from 59.7 billion the same quarter a year ago, the company reported Thursday. However, profits fell 29% to $2.5 billion. “But these aren’t normal circumstances,” Bezos said. “Instead, we expect to spend the entirety of that $4 billion, and perhaps a bit more, on COVID-related expenses getting products to customers and keeping employees safe.”
Amazon continues to struggle to meet the huge demand from Americans and international customers, many of whom have remained at home for more than a month as the coronavirus pandemic spreads. Amazon has prioritized stocking and delivering items deemed most essential and raced to hire 175,000 U.S. workers in the span of a few weeks.
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