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Amazon loses nearly $4 billion in first quarter

However, the company says consumers have a lot to look forward to in the near future

Amazon company building
Photo (c) georgeclerk - Getty Images
You won't see a request for some spare change in your next Amazon order, but the company is facing a tall order to try to replace nearly $4 billion that it lost in the first quarter of 2022.

In Amazon’s first-quarter results released Thursday, it reported a net loss of $3.8 billion, a backward slide from the $8.1 billion profit it made during the same period in 2021. Analysts were caught off-guard too. The financial soothsayers that Refinitiv had surveyed predicted a $4.4 billion profit.

Where Amazon took the hit

The company attributed much of the loss to a $7.6 billion loss from its investment in electric automaker Rivian Automotive. Much of Amazon's investment in Rivian was tied to an electric delivery van that Rivian was producing for the company.

And what would a good finger-pointing be these days without mentioning COVID-19 and Ukraine? “The pandemic and subsequent war in Ukraine have brought unusual growth and challenges,” said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy. 

Despite the setback, Jassy says Amazon isn't down for the count. 

“Our Consumer business has grown 23% annually over the past two years. We know how to do this and have done it before. This may take some time, particularly as we work through ongoing inflationary and supply chain pressures, but we see encouraging progress on a number of customer experience dimensions, including delivery speed performance as we’re now approaching levels not seen since the months immediately preceding the pandemic in early 2020.”

Some good news

Jassy said despite taking it on the chin with the multi-billion loss, Amazon has reasons to celebrate. 

For one thing, it’s coming out with Buy with Prime, a new benefit for Prime members in the U.S. that's designed to extend the convenience of shopping with Prime to online stores beyond doing it online at Amazon.com. When the program hits its stride, Prime members will be able to shop directly from participating merchants’ online stores using their Prime member benefits, including fast and free delivery, a seamless checkout experience, and free returns on eligible orders.

Prime Day is officially on the company calendar and is scheduled for this coming July.

Prime Video lovers will be able to binge a bit more, as well. Amazon just closed its deal to buy MGM, which means an additional 4,000 film titles and 17,000 TV episodes available to stream – everything from Raging Bull to The Silence of the Lambs.

The company is also licking its chops over the response it’s gotten for the teaser trailer it ran for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, which debuts Labor Day weekend. That teaser broke a global record for the most-watched entertainment trailer to debut during a Super Bowl telecast, with 257 million views globally in the first 24 hours of its release. 

Sports junkies will also be getting some extra fodder. Amazon is bringing over analyst Kirk Herbstreit from ESPN and pairing him up with play-by-play stalwart Al Michaels as the voices for its exclusive coverage of NFL Thursday Night Football, kicking off Thursday, September 15, 2022.

Techies aren’t being left out in the cold either. Amazon said it has launched new Alexa experiences, including one which allows customers to ask Alexa about symptoms for common health ailments and possible causes. It will also allow users to virtually connect with health care professionals through a new collaboration with Teladoc, a virtual doctor service.

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