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10/24/2002
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Amazon Cuts Losses 80%

It's still only showing a pro forma profit, but discounts are making real black ink more likely for Amazon.

International business fueled strong third-quarter sales for Amazon.com Inc., helping the Internet retailer reduce its losses by 80% in spite of weak U.S. spending.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Amazon reported a net loss of $35.1 million, or 9 cents a share. That's a big drop from a loss of $170 million, or 46 cents, a year ago. Excluding noncash items and restructuring charges, the retailer had a profit of $400,000, or about break-even on a per-share basis, compared with a pro forma net loss of $58 million, or 16 cents, a share a year ago.

Amazon's revenue was $851.3 million, a 33% gain from $639.3 million a year ago.

The company issued a statement saying that it's lowered prices five times during the last 15 months in order to bring in more business. The company will continue a promotion introduced in August that offers free shipping for orders of more than $25. The company lost $10 million in the quarter on its shipping costs alone, compared with $2 million a year ago, but it said sales were higher because of the promotion.

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