Amazon trumps Wall Street predictions -- still loses money

October 24, 2013: 6:42 PM ET

The e-commerce giant's latest quarter was more of the same in some respects -- not necessarily a bad thing.

Kiva's factory robots are now deployed in at least three fulfillment centers, Amazon said this week.

Kiva's factory robots are now deployed in at least three fulfillment centers, Amazon said this week.

FORTUNE -- Amazon (AMZN) has long focused on heavy investments into expansion, even at the expense of its bottom line, and the company's latest quarter proved no different.

For the e-commerce giant's third quarter 2013, it reported a loss of 9 cents per share on sales of $17.09 billion. While the loss was expected, the 24% jump in revenues actually surpassed the Street's $16.77 billion estimate. Company stock surged 7% in after-hours trading.

MORE: 4 ways Netflix can maintain the momentum.

As in previous recent quarters, CFO Tom Szkutak attributed the loss to the company's ongoing expansion. Amazon's increasing network of roughly 100 fulfillment centers continues to take its toll in the short-term, but factors also include growing out the company's Amazon Web Services infrastructure and the development of new Kindle hardware, which began rolling out this fall.

In the company's earnings release, Jeff Bezos highlighted Amazon's recent flurry of activity, including new Kindles, the addition of 8 million more square feet of fulfillment center capacity, and the deployment of 1,382 Kiva robots in three fulfillment centers to increase efficiency. Amazon also announced new warehouses, each with 1 million square feet, in Florida and Baltimore, as well as the hiring and training of 70,000 new seasonal workers in preparation for the holiday season, when the company traditionally experiences huge sales.

Szkutak also addressed the company's recent controversial decision to increase its free shipping minimum order threshold from $25 to $35. "We've had that for over a decade," Szkutak remarked. "Over that period, both fuel prices and transportation. We certainly didn't change that threshold until now."

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JP Mangalindan
JP Mangalindan
Writer, Fortune

JP Mangalindan is a San Francisco-based writer at Fortune, covering Silicon Valley. Since joining in 2010, he has written on a wide array of topics, from the turnaround of eBay to the evolution of net neutrality. A graduate of Fordham University, Mangalindan has also written for GQ, Popular Science, and Entertainment Weekly.

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