A few months have passed since Amazon pulled a Beyoncé and dropped seven private labels into its merchandise mix without warning, and the online retailer appears to be playing the clothing card as close to its chest as ever.
On Thursday, Amazon reported the most profitable quarter in its nearly 22-year history but executives made no mention of its fashion business during a conference call discussing the results.
Instead, the company’s net income of $513 million, or $1.07 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2016 was mostly attributed to sales of Amazon devices such as the Fire tablet and Fire TV Stick—a vast improvement over the year-ago period’s net loss of $57 million, or $0.12 per diluted share.
Amazon shares (AMZN) surged to as much as $662 in early trading Friday.
“Amazon devices are the top selling products on Amazon and customers purchased more than twice as many Fire tablets than first quarter last year,” Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer, said. “Earlier this week, the $39 Fire TV Stick became the first product ever—from any manufacturer—to pass 100,000 customer reviews, including over 62,000 5-star reviews, also more than any other product ever sold on Amazon. Echo, too, is off to an incredible start, and we can’t yet manage to keep it in stock despite all efforts. We’re building premium products at non-premium prices and we’re thrilled so many customers are responding to our approach.”
Net sales increased 28 percent to $29.1 billion in the three months ended Mar. 31, compared with $22.7 billion in the first quarter of 2015. Excluding the $210 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 29 percent.
The company said its operating profit for the three-month period was $1.1 billion, compared with $255 million last year.
Though Amazon hasn’t revealed how much of its first-quarter revenue came from its fashion arm, it’s clearly pursuing apparel as a growth opportunity. Earler this year, Re/code shared data from analysts at investment bank R.W. Baird that said the e-tailer listed 30 million clothing and accessories SKUs during the 2015 holiday season—a massive 91 percent increase from the same period the previous year.
There are currently 28 positions for the company’s private-label business advertised on its website, spanning fit managers and merchandisers to business intelligence analysts.
Looking ahead to the second quarter, Amazon said net sales are expected to be between $28 billion and $30.5 million, or to grow between 21-32 percent, while it’s anticipating operating income to be in the range of $375 million and $975 million.