Amazon said Thursday that strong gains in its market-leading cloud computing services helped drive a 15 percent rise in total sales in the first quarter.
But the bottom line was red for the leading US online retailer, with a loss of $57 million, compared to a net gain of $108 million a year ago, due to continued growth in operating overhead.
Total sales jumped to $22.72 billion in the January-March period, compared to $19.74 billion a year ago.
US sales gains offset a fall in the company's international division, hit in part by the strong dollar and weaker foreign currencies.
Sales of electronics and other merchandise in North America were still the company's mainstay, up 31 percent in the year to $10.25 billion. Internationally, the gain was four percent.
Sales in the company's Amazon Web Services division -- cloud computing services -- surged from $1.05 billion in the year-ago quarter to $1.57 billion.
It was the first time Amazon broke out earnings from the division, which has by some estimates a 30 percent share of the rapidly growing industry.
"Amazon Web Services is a $5-billion business and still growing fast -- in fact it's accelerating," said company founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos.
"Born a decade ago, AWS is a good example of how we approach ideas and risk-taking."
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