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Originally published January 27, 2011 at 1:40 PM | Page modified January 27, 2011 at 7:41 PM

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Amazon's 4Q sales surge 36 percent to $12.95 billion

Internet retailer Amazon.com reported another strong quarter Thursday as sales for the final three months of 2010 surged 36 percent from a year ago to $12.95 billion.

Seattle Times business reporter

Internet retailer Amazon.com reported another strong quarter Thursday as sales for the final three months of 2010 surged 36 percent from a year ago to $12.95 billion.

Amazon said its fourth-quarter profit rose 8 percent to $416 million, or a better-than-expected 91 cents a share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast a per-share profit of 88 cents on sales of $12.99 billion.

Chief Executive Jeff Bezos noted that Amazon surpassed $10 billion in quarterly sales for the first time in its history, and he promoted the company's Kindle e-book store.

"Kindle books have now overtaken paperbook books as the most popular format on Amazon.com," he said in a statement. "Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year, so this milestone has come even sooner than we expected — and it's on top of continued growth in paperback sales."

Amazon's stock closed Thursday up $9.06, or 5.2 percent, at $184.45 but dropped more than $18 in early after-hours trading, possibly because of a first-quarter outlook that fell below Wall Street's prediction.

Amazon released its results after the close of regular trading.

Amy Martinez: 206-464-2923 or amartinez@seattletimes.com

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