Amazon.com sales grow

The bookseller announced a big fourth-quarter jump in sales and a smaller loss than originally expected.

Amazon.com(AMZN) announced a big fourth-quarter jump in sales and a smaller loss than originally expected.

Net revenues reached $66 million in the quarter, up from $8.5 million a year ago and up 74 percent from the previous quarter's $37.9 million.

The net loss for the fourth quarter ended December 31 was $9.3 million, or 39 cents per share, compared with a net loss of 2.3 million or 10 cents a share a year ago. Amazon reported a loss of $8.5 million, or 36 cents a share, in the previous quarter.

Analysts had expected the online bookseller to report a loss of 44 cents a share, according to First Call.

Customer accounts grew to 1.51 million in the quarter, a 61 percent jump from 940,000 accounts the previous quarter. The bookseller had 180,000 accounts a year ago. Orders from repeat customers represented more than 58 percent of orders placed during the quarter.

Last week, competitor Barnesandnoble.com said it expected sales for the quarter ending January 31 to be about $8 million. Barnesandnoble.com also said it acquired 250,000 customer accounts, with more than 40 percent of its business from repeat buyers.

During the quarter, GeoCities named Amazon.com its exclusive bookseller, providing placement throughout its online communities. Amazon also became the premier bookseller on the @Home Network's shopping service, book directories, and search pages, and Netscape Communications made the company the exclusive bookseller in its recently launched Marketplace section of Netscape Netcenter.

The company also attributed some of its success to its continued expansion of its Associate program. The company ended the year with more than 28,000 registered program members. Amazon.com Associate sites link to Amazon.com to offer books of interest to their users.