Amazon sales soar as pandemic fuels online shopping


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Alex Wong | Getty Images

Amazon will report its fiscal second-quarter earnings after market close on Thursday.

Here are Wall Street’s expectations for Amazon: 

  • Earnings: $1.46 per share expected, according to analysts surveyed by Refinitiv
  • Revenue: $81.56 billion expected, according to analysts surveyed by Refinitiv

The company’s earnings will be impacted significantly by its coronavirus-related investments.

In its first-quarter earnings report, Amazon said it would spend its entire estimated $4 billion profit between April and June on employee safety measures and improvements to its delivery processes. Some of the investments include procuring personal protective equipment, “less efficient process paths” that allow for social distancing, higher wages for hourly workers and developing Covid-19 testing capabilities.

Bezos acknowledged the company wasn’t operating under “normal circumstances” and, for that reason, shareholders “may want to take a seat.”

Since March, Amazon has dealt with dual crises. It faced significant pushback from warehouse workers across the country who argued Amazon hasn’t done enough to keep them safe, leading to walkouts and widespread public criticism.

At the same time, its fulfillment operations were under extraordinary strain as it faced a flurry of online orders, causing delivery delays and supply chain issues. The company ultimately moved to prioritize shipments of essential goods in its fulfillment centers, due to massive demand for products like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Bezos characterized the situation as “the hardest time we’ve ever faced.” 

Uncertainty around the coronavirus crisis forced Amazon to postpone its annual Prime Day shopping event, which is typically held in mid-July. The company hasn’t set a new date, but notices sent to third-party sellers indicate it could be held the week of Oct. 5.

Thursday’s earnings report will mark the first time Amazon has reported second-quarter results without mentioning sales from Prime Day. 

Despite these challenges, Amazon has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic, due to the surge in e-commerce activity and businesses’ increasing reliance on cloud-computing services, including Amazon Web Services. 

Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv are expecting the pandemic to fuel double-digit growth to Amazon’s top line in the second quarter. With respect to the third quarter, analysts are looking for $86.29 billion in revenue.

Amazon shares are up more than 60% since the beginning of the year, as of Wednesday’s close.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

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