The contours of Amazon’s earnings report looked similar to the patterns that have been seen in recent quarters. Amazon Web Services, its cloud business, did the heavy lifting in terms of delivering profitability. That division had an operating income of $861 million on net sales of $3.2 billion. Meanwhile, the North America business — which includes the steady stream of brown boxes the retailer sends to your doorstep — saw operating income of $255 million on a sales base nearly six times as large.
The international business recorded an operating loss of $541 million.
Amazon’s fulfillment costs once again rose in the quarter, reflecting how expensive it is for the behemoth to make good on its speedy shipping promises. In addition to its Prime membership, which offers two-day shipping, the e-commerce giant is pushing into more and more cities with its offerings of same-day or one-hour delivery.
As Amazon heads into the crucial holiday shopping season, there are signs the retailer is expecting a merry Christmas. In the forecast the company put forward on Thursday, it said it expected sales to be between $42 billion and $45 billion. That would be a sharp jump from the $35.7 billion it posted last year.
And executives had previously announced that they would bring on some 120,000 seasonal workers for this holiday season, a 20 percent increase over the number of temporary workers it hired last year. That hiring figure stands out from the rest of the retail pack, as most big chains such as Target and Macy’s have kept their hiring steady compared to the 2015 holiday rush.
Amazon did not offer details on how its Prime Day sale — a Black Friday-like event held in July — contributed to the quarterly results. Executives had said previously that Prime Day was the biggest sales day in company history, topping any previous Cyber Monday.
(Jeffrey P. Bezos, the chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)