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SURGE IN ONLINE SALES BOOSTS AMAZON IN UK.

Byline: HENRYK ZIENTEK

ONLINE retailer Amazon UK reported a surge in exports as consumers in continental Europe took advantage of the weak pound.

The trend, reported by UK managing director Brian McBride, emerged as Amazon UK's parent company posted a 24% rise in first quarter earnings to pounds 121.7m.

The company, based in Seattle, USA, does not disclose figures for the UK - but it said sales for the international division rose by 15% to pounds 1.59bn in the first three months of this year.

Top sellers in the UK included Mamma Mia! The Movie, which became Amazon.co.uk's biggest selling product of all-time - overtaking the seventh book in the Harry Potter series.

James Bond film Quantum of Solace was the biggest seller of the quarter, while three books by Stephenie Meyer also appear in the top 10.

Mr McBride said sales had risen across all departments, including music after downloads from its new MP3 store exceeded 5m tracks.

Amazon has sparked a price war in the sector by offering a number of best-selling albums for pounds 3 as well as chart-topping tracks from 29p.

Said Mr McBride: "With the weakness of the pound, we are seeing exports rising. A lot of people are buying products from Europe in the UK." Amazon is celebrating its 10th year in the UK, where it launched its first overseas operation..

The business has four warehouses in Glasgow, Fife, Bedfordshire and most recently Swansea, where it opened its largest centre to date last year, at more than 800,000 square feet of storage space with some 1,000 staff.

It hired about 2,000 temporary workers over Christmas to help it cope with the peak selling season.

The results from the global company were much better than the decline analysts were expecting and indicate that the online retailer is faring well despite the ongoing recession.

Steve Weinstein, retail analyst at Pacific Crest Securities, said: "It tells you how well they're executing and winning business with customers."
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Apr 25, 2009
Words:334
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