Amazon’s shares rose to an all-time high after the leading online retailer unveiled record Christmas takings of $21bn (£13bn).
The business that began trading as a bookstore and now stocks everything from cameras to nappies increased worldwide sales by 22% since December 2011. Amazon continued to grab market share from both high street retailers and online rivals, a performance which helped swell its cash pile to $12.4bn.
Profits were boosted by a major investment in 20 new distribution centres last year, three of them in the UK, allowing the retailer to reduce transport costs.
“The growth rate shows not only are they taking share from bricks and mortar but also other online channels,” said RJ Hottovy, an analyst at research firm Morningstar. “You are seeing a consolidation of where people are going to for digital content. Apple’s iTunes and Amazon are the stand-out destinations.”