Amazon emerged Thursday as one of the big winners in the coronavirus pandemic, announcing that it had generated revenues of $ 75.4 billion in the first three months of the year – more than $ 33 million per hour.
The sales boom, 26% higher than the same period last year, came at a cost, as profits fell 29% from the previous year to $ 2.5 billion . And the company said there were more expenses to come.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, said the company’s shareholders should “take a seat” because the company plans to spend $ 4 billion or more over the next three months on expenses related to coronaviruses, including the providing products to customers and employee safety.
Bezos said: “This includes investments in personal protective equipment, improved cleaning of our facilities, less efficient processes that allow for more effective social distancing, higher wages for hourly teams and hundreds of millions to develop our own Covid-19 test capabilities. ”
The $ 4 billion spending will equal Amazon’s total profit for the next quarter, and its shares have been leaked to the news.
Amazon’s net sales reached $ 46 billion in the first quarter, up from $ 35.8 billion in the same period last year.
The company also benefited from a $ 10.3 billion boost from Amazon Web Services, its web hosting service, which counts Netflix as one of its customers, as well as the World Health Organization.
Other retailers, including Macy’s and Nieman Marcus, have laid off thousands of employees and are struggling to stay in business. Amazon, meanwhile, has hired at a breakneck pace to meet the demand of customers stranded at home through quarantine orders across the United States. In the past two months, he announced plans to hire 175,000 more employees.
The sales boom added to the enormous wealth of Bezos. Already the richest man in the world, Bezos saw his fortune swell from $ 13 billion this month to $ 145 billion as Amazon’s stock price hit new highs. He is the biggest winner among a number of billionaires who added $ 308 billion to their wealth in the midst of the crisis.
The foreclosure has created a situation reminiscent of what Amazon experienced on Black Friday, the annual trading bonanza before Christmas and its own annual Prime Day sale, said US investment bank Cowen. He wrote, “Amazon has seen a” huge increase in demand “as buyers are forced to stay at home, essentially creating an extended Prime Day / Black Friday situation. “
While soaring Amazon sales boosted his fortunes, warehouse workers at Amazon and his supermarket chain Whole Foods protested that the company hadn’t done enough to protect them from coronavirus. Friday, demonstrations are planned on some of its sites.
Derrick Palmer, an Amazon employee at the JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York, who has worked at Amazon for more than four years, said, “Right now, Amazon workers are very depressed. We think it’s either staying at home and letting the bills pile up or going to work and possibly getting sick. ”