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Amazon Posts Surprise Quarterly Profit, Surpasses Wal-Mart in Market Value

Jul 24, 2015 01:59 AM EDT | By Jean-Claude Arnobit
Amazon, Wal-mart, Amazon Prime
Close Inc. is now the world's biggest retailer in market value.

Amazon's unexpected second-quarter profit has pushed its stock upward, overtaking Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in market value, according to Reuters.

The company reported a profit of $92 million or 19 cents per share for the second quarter, which ended on June 30, and a revenue of $23.19 billion, a 19.9 percent increase.

Analysts were expecting Amazon to post a loss of 14 cents per share and a revenue of $22.39 billion.

A strong demand in electronics and general merchandise helped fuel sales in North America, which posted a 25.5 percent increase to $13.8 billion.

Amazon Web Service also contributed about 8 percent of the quarter's total revenue with $1.82 billion in income.

The growth in membership for Amazon Prime, a service that provides free two-day unlimited-shipping for eligible items, also boosted Amazon's profits.

The $99 a year membership also provides unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with its Prime Instant Video and the ability to borrow books from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Reuters reported that Brian Olavsky, Chief Financial Officer of Amazon, said that Amazon Prime is getting new subscriber at rates "higher than we've ever seen."

"Growth has been fueled in large part by Prime growth and also (item) selection growth so it's been a huge driver both in North America and international segments," Olavsky said in a report from Reuters.

Bloomberg reported that Amazon's shares rose by 19 percent to $573.45 in aftermarket trading. The rise in stock price gives Amazon a market value of $267 billion, surpassing Wal-Mart's $233.5 billion market value.

Wal-Mart, though, still beats Amazon in terms of sales, with the former posting an annual revenue five times that of Amazon.

Amazon, however, has Wal-Mart beat in the e-commerce market. Wal-Mart has been playing catch-up as it invests in its own Web operations and subscription services.

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