Shares in retail giant Amazon soared 18% in after hours trading on Thursday, making it the most valuable retail company in the world, after the company announced an unexpected profit and a sharp rise in sales for its latest quarter.
The share price hike added more than $7bn to the $34.7bn fortune of founder Jeff Bezos in less than 45 minutes.
As the shares climbed, they surpassed those of Walmart, making Amazon the highest-valued company in retail in the world. An hour after it announced its earnings, Amazon was valued at approximately $270bn while Walmart had closed with a valuation of $233bn.
Amazon had a lot to celebrate this quarter, according to Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com.The better-than-expected results came just a week after the company celebrated its 20th anniversary.
“The teams at Amazon have been working hard for customers,” he said on Thursday. “We unveiled Amazon Business, opened Amazon Mexico, launched Prime free same-day, rolled out our ninth Prime Now city, broke our Black Friday record with the first-ever Prime Day, received 11 Emmy nominations for Transparent, debuted six new kids pilots, brought Echo to general availability, introduced the Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service, opened FBA Small and Light, continued to double down on our fastest-growing geography – India, launched 350 significant AWS [Amazon Web Services]features and services so far this year (ahead of last year’s pace), introduced AWS Educate, and entered into agreements for new solar and wind farms – enough to exceed our 2016 goal of 40% renewable energy.”
It has not been all smooth sailing for Amazon.
At the beginning of this month, the company informed writers whose works is available through Kindle Owners Lending Library that they will not be paid per download but instead for page read at the rate of $0.006 per page. Up till then, authors were paid $1.30 per download. This means that only authors whose books are 220 pages long or longer and are read from cover to cover will make the same or more in future.
About two weeks later, leading authors including Malcolm Gladwell, Ursula Le Guin, Michael Chabon and Ann Patchett penned a letter to the US Department of Justice demanding that it investigate the retailer’s “power over the book market”.