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Tech Industry revenues soar

Online bookseller reports a 243 percent increase in second-quarter revenues, helping the company to post a narrower-than-expected loss.

Online bookseller today reported a 243 percent increase in second quarter revenues, helping the company to post a narrower-than-expected loss.

The company pulled in $39.1 million in sales in its first quarter as a publicly traded company, compared to $11.4 million for the year-ago quarter. Sales for the six months ended June 30, 1999 were $71.4 million, up 250 percent over sales for the comparable period in 1998. posted a 17 cents per share loss compared to a net loss of 21 cents per share for the year ago quarter. A consensus of analysts polled by First Call expected the company to post a 24 cents per share net loss for the quarter.

Still, hoping to peg its fortunes to other than pure financial numbers, the company said its customer accounts increased by more than 506,000 during the second quarter, to a total of over 2.2 million as of June 30, 1999. During the quarter, repeat customer orders increased to more than 60 percent of orders, said.

"All of our key metrics exceeded expectations, illustrating the growing momentum of our business," said chief executive Jonathan Bulkeley in a statement.

The company went public in May raising $486 million-- the largest Internet IPO at the time. Priced at 18 per share, the stock closed 27 percent higher at 22.94 on its first day on the market. Since that time, the issue has retreated strongly, falling as low as 14.25. The stock also climbed as high as 26.63 since it began trading on May 25.

Yesterday, ahead of its earnings, the stock rose 2.01 percent to close at 19.

Media Metrix ranked as the fourth largest e-commerce site in the world in June.

While expanding its selection to include music products, plans to keep to the straight and narrow, focusing on books and music. Its primary online competitor, has branched out into videos, software products, auctions, toys, and music.

Amazon yesterday as expected posted a loss of $138 million, or 86 cents a share, compared to a loss of $22.6 million, or 15 cents, a year earlier.