Amazon.com Inc. on Feb. 2 reported fourth-quarter 2020 net income and sales that beat analysts' expectations alongside a surprise announcement that Jeff Bezos, founder and longtime CEO of the Seattle-based e-commerce company, will step down from his chief executive position in the third quarter.
Bezos will transition to the role of executive chairman, and Amazon Web Services Inc. CEO Andy Jassy will succeed Bezos as CEO of Amazon.
Amazon reported fourth-quarter 2020 net income of $7.22 billion, or $14.09 per share, up from $3.27 billion, or $6.47 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2019. The S&P Capital IQ estimate for GAAP EPS in the just-ended period was $7.13.
Amazon's net sales reached $125.56 billion in the fourth quarter, up nearly 44% compared with $87.44 billion in the same period of 2019. The sales figure surpassed the consensus revenue estimate of $119.73 billion.
For the full year 2020, Amazon's net income grew to $21.33 billion, or $41.83 per share, compared with net income of $11.59 billion, or $23.01 per share, in 2019. Analysts had expected full-year 2020 GAAP net income of $17.82 billion, or $34.85 per share.
Amazon's net sales for 2020 reached $386.06 billion, up from $280.52 billion in 2019. That figure also beat the consensus revenue estimate of $380.21 billion.
For the first quarter of 2021, Amazon expects net sales to grow to between $100 billion and $106 billion, up between 33% and 40% compared with the first quarter of 2020. This guidance anticipates a favorable impact of about 300 basis points from foreign-exchange rates.
The company's first-quarter operating income is expected to be between $3.0 billion and $6.5 billion, compared with $4.0 billion in the first quarter of 2020, assuming about $2 billion of costs related to COVID-19.
Amazon's shares were up about 2% in after-market trading.