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Amazon Trims 2Q Losses, Changes Accounting for 2003

Amazon.com yesterday reported a net loss of $94 million, or 25 cents per share, for the second quarter of this year compared with a net loss of $168 million, or 47 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2001.

In the announcement made after the market closed, Amazon also said that by the start of 2003, all stock options would be expensed. The move follows the lead of Coca-Cola Co., which said last week that it would expense stock options following the various corporate accounting scandals and resulting calls for more transparency.

Amazon, Seattle, reported that net sales for the second quarter were $806 million, up 21 percent from $668 million in second-quarter 2001.

International sales from the company's UK, German, French and Japanese sites rose 70 percent to $218 million, Amazon reported. The company's books unit also grew by 20 percent.

Amazon said it expects net sales for third-quarter 2002 to be $780 million to $830 million and net sales for the full year 2002 to grow more than 18 percent.

“I'm especially pleased with the outstanding job our U.S. Books team is doing — posting another quarter of 20 percent year-over-year book unit growth, up from 15 percent growth this past fourth quarter,” Jeff Bezos, founder/CEO of Amazon.com, said in a statement. “Also, electronics, tools and kitchen revenues accelerated as we lowered prices and expanded electronics selection by 40 percent to over 60,000 items, including products from Sony, Toshiba, Yamaha and Microsoft.”

In June, Amazon announced its fourth significant price decrease in the past year. In July 2001, the company lowered book prices to 30 percent off books over $20, and in January introduced free shipping on certain orders over $99. In April, Amazon extended the 30 percent discount to books over $15, and in June extended its free shipping to qualifying orders over $49 as a long-term test. Additionally, Amazon recently lowered prices on electronics, tools, CDs and DVDs.

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