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Amazon hopes pandemic habits stick after profits triple

Amazon continued to cash in on our new shop-work-relax-from-home habits in the first three months of this year, reporting a huge rise in sales and a tripling of profits.

Almost every aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic has served to boost the tech giant's revenues, from video streaming to grocery delivery.

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It said it expects the boom to continue over the next few months.

The pandemic could herald "a golden age" for Amazon, one analyst said.

Amazon's are the latest blow-out results from Big Tech this week. Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google's parent firm Alphabet have all reported big sales increases a year after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Amazon group has continued to spread its reach into automated grocery stores, online healthcare services, even experimenting with a bricks-and-mortar hair and beauty salon in London.

But its core offerings: online shopping with home delivery, media streaming and cloud-based web-services all flourished during a year of upheaval for other businesses.

Revenue rose from $75bn (£54bn) this time last year to $108.5bn for the three months to the end of March.

Profit was $8.1bn, up from $2.5bn a year ago.

Chief executive Jeff Bezos highlighted the streaming service Prime Video and AWS, the web-services division, and said he was "proud to have them in the family".

"As Prime Video turns 10, over 175 million Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year, and streaming hours are up more than 70% year over year," he said.

He said AWS had grown in its first 15 years to deliver $54bn annual sales "competing against the world's largest technology companies."

Mr Bezos is stepping down as chief executive this summer, though he will remain in the less hands-on role of executive chairman. He will be succeeded by AWS's chief executive Andy Jassy.

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