Amazon pulls in a record $5.4 billion profit

Amazon reported a bigger-than-expected surge in quarterly profit driven by its cloud-computing services

Online retail giant Amazon said on Thursday that they plan to make one-day delivery available to their Prime customers in the USA on most items. Already, the company's Amazon Prime program has been offering one-day, same-day, and two-hour shipping times, but only in certain zip codes and for a limited number of products. Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said they are working away from two-day shipping.

"We'll be building most of this capacity through the year, in 2019", he later added.

Olsavsky didn't offer a timeline for the project's roll out, which will begin in the USA, saying "we expect to make steady progress quickly and through the year".

The initiatives reflect how the world's largest online retailer has long invested in still-untested technology and programs, like its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market to bolster home grocery deliveries.

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She estimated that roughly 20 percent to 25 percent of Amazon's shipping is now within one day, noting that speedy service was easy in large USA metro areas where it already had built out its delivery network.

Amazon kept a lid on delivery costs in the period ended March 31, spending $7.3 billion in the quarter.

Last quarter, Volkswagen became a major customer of Amazon Web Services, for instance, and that part of the business grew 41 percent year over, generating $7.7 billion.

Amazon's push into advertising and cloud computing is paying off, helping the online shopping giant's first quarter profit more than double from a year ago.

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Still, Amazon said Thursday that it expects to spend $800 million in this year's second quarter to speed up deliveries. These increases come off the back of a 17 per cent growth in sales to US$59.7 billion ($85.09 billion).

The unit's operating income was US$2.2 billion, or 50 per cent of Amazon's total.

One of the Amazon facilities impacted by the temporary closures is in IL, according to this KMOV news story from last week in which it said Amazon was changing a Fulfillment Center in Edwardsville "to allow it to handle different inventory", and said it was impacting hundreds of jobs. Meanwhile, Amazon's operating expenses grew by 12 percent to $55.1 billion.

In response to our inquiry about closures of some fulfillment centers, an Amazon spokesperson provided no details.

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