Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) will prove once more this holiday season that its business model continues to take revenue from retail competitors and companies in the cloud business. This will drive Amazon shares sharply higher again. If recent history is any precedent, the rise should be 50%, or perhaps better, in the next year.
Amazon’s shares have risen 115% in the past year, 51% in the past six months and 24% in the last quarter. The company has forecast:
Net sales are expected to be between $33.50 billion and $36.75 billion, or to grow between 14% and 25% compared with fourth quarter 2014.
Operating income is expected to be between $80 million and $1.28 billion, compared to $591 million in fourth quarter 2014.
This guidance includes approximately $620 million for stock-based compensation and amortization of intangible assets, and it assumes, among other things, that no additional business acquisitions, investments, restructurings, or legal settlements are concluded and that there are no further revisions to stock-based compensation estimates.
That any large retailer could post a 25% gain in the holiday season is extraordinary. The numbers put Amazon on track to be a $120 billion revenue company.
The $36 billion revenue number for Amazon means that it indeed continues to steal sales from traditional retailers at an astonishing pace. Most large retailers, like Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M), would count themselves lucky to have single-digit improvements in their revenue in the holiday quarter.
Amazon also has staked a position as one of the leaders, if not the leader, in cloud computing, which is among the next large waves of advanced technology. In the most recent quarter, revenue from its Amazon Web Services (AWS) rose from $1.2 billion in the period a year ago to $2.1 billion. Segment operating income rose from $98 million to $521 million over the same period. Jeff Bezos once said AWS eventually would be larger than Amazon’s core retail business. More evidence of this in 2016 will confirm that it is at the forefront of the new tech trend that will come to define companies in the sector.
Amazon investors are sold on the company. Another 25% increase in 2016 revenue will take its shares much higher. If history is any guide, that increase should be 50% or more.