Amazon posted a third-quarter profit of nearly $10 billion as it was able to wring more earnings out of its online store business in North America.
The online retail giant posted a profit of $9.9 billion, or 94 cents a share, in the period, compared with year-ago earnings of $2.9 billion, or 28 cents a share. The recent results were helped by a boost in value in its stake in automaker Rivian that netted it a pre-tax gain of $1.1 billion. Revenue rose 12% to $143 billion.
A big part of the difference was in its North American retail business, which swung from a year-ago loss of $412 million to an operating profit of $4.3 billion this quarter. The company typically relies on Amazon Web Services, its cloud server business, to generate the bulk of the profit. AWS contributed $7 billion in operating profit this quarter.
The turnaround reflects the results of its various cost-cutting initiatives, including the elimination of tens of thousands of full-time jobs, even as it touts hiring 250,000 full-time, part-time and seasonal positions in the U.S. for the holiday season.
Amazon is also shaping up for a big fourth quarter. In October, it held its second Prime day, called Big Deal Days, as an unofficial kickoff to the holiday shopping season (October sales will flow into the fourth quarter results). It’s expected to benefit from heightened activity on Black Friday and Cyber Monday as well.