Ama­zon shares breach US$1,000 for the first time

New Straits Times - - Business World -

Shares of Ama­ surged above US$1,000 (RM4,282) for the first time yes­ter­day, mark­ing an­other mile­stone in the rise of the Amer­i­can on­line re­tail giant.

Near 14.10GMT, the com­pany’s shares were sell­ing at US$997.97, up 0.2 per cent af­ter ear­lier get­ting as high as US$1,001.20. Ama­zon’s mar­ket cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion stood at about US$478 bil­lion, more than twice that of Wal-Mart Stores.

Af­ter go­ing in pub­lic in May 1997 at US$18 a share, Ama­zon has ben­e­fited from tec­tonic shifts in US tech­nol­ogy and con­sumer shop­ping habits that are ex­pected to con­tinue to re­make the re­tail in­dus­try.

The com­pany has evolved from its ori­gins as an on­line book­seller into a broad-based re­tailer of ap­parel and house­hold sta­ples, from elec­tron­ics to sausage cas­ing. And with its “Prime” sub­scrip­tion ser­vice, it also has be­come a cre­ative force in Hol­ly­wood and be­yond.

On­line sales cur­rently com­prise about eight per cent of the US re­tail mar­ket. Ama­zon alone ac­counts for about 43 per cent of US on­line sales, ac­cord­ing to con­sul­tancy Slice In­tel­li­gence.

E-com­merce is ex­pected to grow be­tween eight and 12 per cent this year, ac­cord­ing to the National Re­tail Fed­er­a­tion, about three times as much as the rest of the in­dus­try, which has faced mas­sive store and mall clo­sures.

Ama­zon, whose rev­enues grew to US$35.7 bil­lion in the first quar­ter, also has im­pressed Wall Street by lay­ing out a plan to achieve greater prof­itabil­ity.

The surge above US$1,000 a share also raises ques­tions about whether Ama­zon in­tends to pur­sue a stock split.

The com­pany had three pre­vi­ous stock splits, in June 1998 and in Jan­uary and Au­gust 1999.

Ama­zon cur­rently is the fourth biggest com­pany by mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion af­ter Ap­ple, Google par­ent Al­pha­bet and Mi­crosoft.

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