Amazon told investors Thursday night the company is in danger of not making a profit in the final quarter of the year (Q4). The company could make $140 billion in Q4 sales and still not see a dime of profit. The announcement came hours after Amazon reported its third quarter financial results. The company made $110.8 billion in Q3, a 15% increase from 2020’s Q3 numbers. Amazon said its Q4 profit concerns are chiefly due to an expected increase in costs.
“In the fourth quarter, we expect to incur several billion dollars of additional costs in our Consumer business as we manage through labor supply shortages, increased wage costs, global supply chain issues, and increased freight and shipping costs—all while doing whatever it takes to minimize the impact on customers and selling partners this holiday season,” Amazon CEO Andy Jassy said Thursday. “It’ll be expensive for us in the short term, but it’s the right prioritization for our customers and partners.”
Another factor that could come into play is the labor shortage. Amazon has been advertising that the company is hiring throughout the month of October. Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the company spent an extra billion dollars on new hire bonuses and wage increases in Q3. That cost could double during the holiday season.
Amazon shares sank 4% in post-market trading on the news. On Friday, global shares were mostly lower despite the latest rally on Wall Street.
Both the pace of economic growth and the state of the jobs market are on investors’ minds as they look ahead to the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week. The Fed is expected to address how it moves forward with plans to trim bond purchases, as well as the Fed’s position on interest rates.
Rising energy prices have also raised concerns about the cost for consumers as they pay more to fill gas tanks and heat homes heading into the winter. U.S. crude oil prices have jumped more than 70% so far this year.