Amazon's Bezos: Profits matter, just not now

Larry Dignan

Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos reiterated the company's profit mantra Wednesday at a PC Expo keynote: Profits matter, but it's time to invest in the business.

"No company cares more about profits than we do," said Bezos responding to a query about the company's "profit prognosis." "We believe this is a time to grow the business."

Bezos made the passing reference to profits as Amazon shares hover near 52-week lows. Last Friday, concerns about slowing sales and debt sent shares into a 19 percent tailspin.

Bezos, who worked the PC Expo crowd amid microphone glitches, recited the company's numerous monickers: Amazon.con, Amazon.toast, Amazon.bomb and his personal favorite, Amazon.org, because the e-tailer is clearly a non profit organization.

Nevertheless, "we're happy where the business is growing," he said.

He reiterated that the company should be able to fund operations from cash flow by the end of 2000.

The Amazon chieftain, however, didn't offer much in the way of guidance or sales. Bezos said the company doesn't comment on profit projections or tell analysts if they are near the target. Wall Street consensus expects an Amazon profit in 2002.

Bezos' main topic Wednesday was Amazon's personalization efforts. Bezos displayed his personal home page and a "friends and favorites" feature.

According to Bezos' home page, his main interests were science fiction, alternative and indie punk music, activities and stuffed animals. Business and investing goods were ranked fifth.