The Coronavirus has been very good for Amazon’s bottom line. The company announced massive sales gains — $96.1 billion compared to $70.0 billion in third quarter 2019 — during the third quarter, fueled in large part to changes in shopping habits and a further embrace of online retail as people sheltered in place. To date, Amazon’s stock has surged 76 percent in 2020 versus the S&P’s average gains of 3.2 percent.
Folks have flocked to the online marketplace since March for essential items, emergency supplies and groceries. This is a trend that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos anticipates will continue through the fourth quarter and holidays. “We’re seeing more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season,” Bezos said in a statement.
This success has helped further Amazon’s rapid expansion. The company announced that it has hired 100,000 permanent workers in North America as well as hired on another 100,000 seasonal employees. As part of its ongoing COVID response, Amazon expects its testing capacity to reach 50,000 tests per day, “across 650 sites by November.”
Amazon’s Web Services has continued to grow as well. It generated $11.6 billion in sales, up 29 percent over the previous year, as well as sign on new clients and customers.
Looking ahead, the company expects net sales of between $112.0 billion and $121.0 billion in the fourth quarter, roughly a 28 – 38 percent increase over that time last year.
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