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Shoppers Choose In Record Numbers For Holiday Shopping

Strong Sales in Tools, Electronics and Toys

More than 2.5 Million New Customers in Holiday Season; Company Achieves $2.6 Billion Sales Run-Rate

SEATTLE-January 5, 2000--Powered by a strong holiday season, (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced today that its 1999 fourth-quarter sales totaled more than $650 million, more than two and one-half times 1998's fourth quarter sales of $253 million and greater than its $610 million in sales for the whole year of 1998. Based on fourth quarter sales, has reached a $2.6 billion annualized sales level less than four and one-half years after opening for business.

Shoppers seeking to save time and money, avoid holiday shopping hassles, and select the ideal gift produced strong sales across all product lines. Customer demand in's newer stores was so strong that they accounted for more than half of total company revenues, with U.S.-based book sales accounting for the rest. As recently as 18 months ago, only sold books from its U.S. base. began the holiday shopping season on Nov. 10, with the launch of its home improvement, software, video games, and gift stores. From then until Dec. 31 (just over 7 weeks):

  • More than 2.5 million new customers shopped with for the first time.
  • shipped roughly 20 million items.
  • The company experienced peak shipping of approximately $16 million in one day, more than total company sales in 1996. Well over 99% of orders shipped in time to meet holiday deadlines--even orders placed as late as Dec. 23.
  • was the top-ranked e-commerce site for the holiday shopping season from Nov. 22 to Dec. 26, with an average of 5,693,000 unique visitors a week, according to Media Metrix. was also the sixth most-visited Internet property and the No. 1 e-commerce site in November, according to Media Metrix (most recent data).
  • was the No. 1 shopping destination for 42 percent of online shoppers during the holiday season, according to a survey of online shoppers by Ernst & Young.

"We're especially grateful that so many customers chose for tools, electronics and toys," said founder and CEO Jeff Bezos. "Everyone at worked hard and succeeded at delivering a great shopping experience for our customers."

"We invested heavily in distribution capability, and we are very pleased that we shipped well over 99% of orders in time for the holidays," said Joe Galli, president and chief operating officer. "In 2000, we'll continue to raise our standard for customer service while driving productivity, capital efficiency and operational excellence across our entire distribution network."

"Consistent with our strategy, we went all-out to make sure we delivered for customers this holiday season," said Warren Jenson, chief financial officer. "As a result, our higher seasonal sales will not translate into lower net losses in the fourth quarter. In addition, we will incur higher-than-expected inventory-related charges and write-downs, in large part because we carried deep inventory in start-up businesses such as toys and electronics." expects to release complete 1999 fourth quarter and fiscal year financial results on February 2, 2000.

Only four years after it opened its virtual doors, has become the most widely recognized e-commerce brand in the United States, as rated by online shoppers in a nationwide survey by Opinion Research Corp. Some 117.8 million adults, or 60 percent of the adult population in the U.S., recognize the brand, according to the survey. In addition, was ranked the 57th most valuable brand worldwide, just above Hilton, Guinness, and Marriott, and just below Pampers, in a June study of global brands by Interbrand Newell and Sorrell.

About, Inc. (, Inc. and its subsidiaries) is the Internet's No. 1 music, No. 1 DVD and video, and No. 1 book retailer. (NASDAQ:AMZN) opened its virtual doors on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth's Biggest Selection with online auctions and free electronic greeting cards. lists more than 18 million unique items in categories including books, CDs, toys, electronics, videos, DVDs, home improvement products, software, and video games. Through zShops, any business or individual can sell virtually anything to's more than 15 million customers, and with Payments, any seller can accept credit card transactions, avoiding the hassles of offline payments. seeks to be the world's most customer-centric company where customers can find and discover anything they may want to buy online.'s All Product Search scours the Web to help customers find merchandise that is not available at, Auctions, or zShops, making the shopping destination to find anything. operates two international Web sites: in the United Kingdom and in Germany. also operates PlanetAll (, a Web-based address book, calendar, and reminder service. It also operates the Internet Movie Database (, the Web's comprehensive and authoritative source of information on more than 150,000 movies and entertainment programs and 500,000 cast and crewmembers dating from the birth of film in 1892 to the present. also operates LiveBid Auctions (, the leading provider of live-event auctions on the Internet. has invested in leading Internet retailers that are improving the lives of customers by making shopping easier and more convenient:, an online retail and information source for health, beauty, wellness, personal care and pharmacy, at;, the online leader for pet products, expert information and services, at;, the first fully integrated Internet grocery-shopping and home-delivery service, with operations in Seattle, Portland, Oregon, and Southern California, at;, which offers brand name sporting goods at prices from 20% to 90% off retail, at; and (NASDAQ: ASFD), the leading Internet retailer of luxury and premium products and the Web's No. 1 retailer of watches and jewelry, at also has a minority interest in, which brings together leading retailers with gift registry, expert advice, and personalized gift suggestions to help everyone give better gifts, at; and NextCard, Inc., considered the industry's leading issuer of consumer credit on the Internet, at (

This press release contains forward-looking statements regarding expectations of revenues and other results of operations in the fourth quarter. These results are preliminary and unaudited. Actual results could differ materially for a variety of reasons, including the ones discussed above, final inventory-related adjustments, customer returns and refunds, other revenue-related adjustments, and actual operating expenses.