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Profits up for diamond geezers

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Amazon continues to prove that punters love shopping online as the Internet giant reported increased sales and profit for the first three months of the year.

And now shoppers have got even more retail choice after Amazon opened the doors to its new Jewellery Store flogging all sorts of gear from rings and necklaces to earrings and watches.

More than 100,000 punters bought some gear during beta testing earlier this year. And since the company insists it will undercut margins from traditional jewellers, it reckons it will have rock bottom for prices for all that glitters.

News of Amazon's jewellery venture coincided with the publication of its results for the first three months of the year.

Sales climbed 41 per cent to $1.53bn in Q1 compared with $1.08bn during the same period last year.

Net profit was $111m in the first quarter, or $0.26 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $10m, or $0.03 per share, in first quarter 2003.

Sales via the US and Canadian sites grew 20 per cent to $847m, while Amazon's overseas operations (its UK, German, French and Japanese sites) grew 80 per cent to $684m.

For the first time, half of net sales came from products delivered to customers outside the US, the company said in a statement.

Looking ahead, Amazon reckons sales for Q2 will run in somewhere between $1.34bn and $1.44bn - up between 22 per cent and 31 per cent - compared with second quarter 2003.

For the full year, Amazon predicts sales of between $6.45bn and $6.85bn. ®

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