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Amazon yesterday released fourth quarter and end-of-year financial results that were impressive on a number of levels, though not impressive enough for many in the investor class.

For the fourth quarter, the company said, net sales increased 22% to $35.7 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $29.3 billion in fourth quarter 2014 ... operating income increased 88% to $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with operating income of $591 million in fourth quarter 2014 ... and net income was $482 million in the fourth quarter, compared with net income of $214 million in fourth quarter 2014.

For the full year, net sales increased 20% to $107.0 billion, compared with $89.0 billion in 2014 ... operating income was $2.2 billion, compared with operating income of $178 million in 2014 ... and net income was $596 million, compared with net loss of $241 million in 2014.

A prepared statement from CEO/founder Jeff Bezos said, in part: "Twenty years ago, I was driving the packages to the post office myself and hoping we might one day afford a forklift. This year, we pass $100 billion in annual sales and serve 300 million customers. And still, measured by the dynamism we see everywhere in the marketplace and by the ever-expanding opportunities we see to invent on behalf of customers, it feels every bit like Day 1."

The New York Times reports this morning that "Amazon prompts strong emotions, and they were on full display Thursday — first a faith that the company will indeed measure up to outsize expectations to be the store that sells everything to everyone everywhere, then the sneaking fear that that might be a dream.

"Analysts said the fourth-quarter numbers, momentarily disappointing as they might have been, did not dent the optimistic case."

And the Times goes on to note that "Amazon might be the powerhouse of e-commerce, yet paradoxically has only a small share of the global market — which is one of the things feeding enthusiasm for it. For Amazon bulls, there are so many more worlds to conquer.

"In data assembled before the fourth-quarter results were in, the research firm eMarketer said Amazon had $71.8 billion in e-commerce sales over the last 12 months, an increase of 5.6 percent from the previous 12 months. Walmart, by contrast, had revenue of $13.5 billion online during the period."
KC's View:
We know that there are people out there, and not just in the investor class, who are dubious about whether Amazon makes enough money to be a sustainable business model. The thing is, Amazon makes money ... but it also reinvests money constantly because it knows that reinvention and innovation are absolutely necessary if it is going to continue to grow and lead.