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Amazon Buyers: Did You READ The Report?

 January 30, 2013 10:32 AM

I have to wonder.  After all, the numbers are right here.

Let's just cut the crap and get to the facts. 

Free cash flow decreased to $395 million -- on sales of $.27 billion, or 0.065%.  That sucks.  It's also down 81% from last year when it was $2.09 billion on $48.08 billion (4.35%, which is still pretty crappy.)

Net income was down 45% as well.  And while full year sales were up 27%, net was down on the higher sales amount, and so was operating income on a full year basis!  In fact it was down 22%!

[Related -Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) Q4 Earnings Preview: Will Amazon's EPS Top Street?]

Transition says Bezos?  Like hell.

Further, net sales are forecast under estimates for the next quarter and the company's operating income range is wider on the negative (loss) side than positive.

Everyone wants to talk about the increased cash position.  Did you notice where it came from? 

The company sold just over $3 billion in debt -- but the cash position increased by about half that.  Worse, depreciation and amortization roughly doubled!

Doubled folks, while sales were up 27%.  That's not good, it's bad!  Your depreciation and amortization should not be rising faster than sales; if it is you're becoming less efficient, not more.

[Related -Level Watching and Swing Trade Planning for Amazon (AMZN)]

It's good that payables were lower at year end and receivables were inline -- that's positive and means your control of both vendors and customer credit is reasonable.

Fulfillment expenses were up 36% in the last three months -- and up 47% on the year -- while sales were up 27%.  Remember that some sales are digital in format and have near-zero fulfillment expense.  This is not good either; fulfillment expenses increasing faster than sales is again an indication of efficiency problems.  In this case that increase is not small either, especially on a full-year basis.  Fulfillment expenses rising at nearly double the rate of sales increase is especially troubling!

G&A is rising faster too -- 36% on the year.

And while interest expense is relatively modest at $92 million, it now is more than double interest income, where last year it was near-parity.  That, of course, came from selling that $3 billion (roughly) in new debt, and will continue to be there in the future.

And by the way, without that interest expense the company would have made a profit on the year.  A small profit... but a profit.

Oh, and if that's not enough, growth is slowing.  A lot.

By 38% in the last quarter of the year (compared to 2011) and by 30% on the full year.

Forward stock price multiple expansion is supposed to come from increasing sales growth on a percentage basis, not contracting.

Of particular concern is the fact that electronics and general merchandise sales growth rates for the last three months -- Christmas Season -- dropped approximately in half from last year.  While media increased a bunch it's also only about a third of the size of general merchandise.  "Other" is inconsequential; about 7% of the whole.

This chart from the release says it all:

The market is ramping this firm's stock price into a deteriorating growth story.

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