SEATTLE – Amazon’s massive growth continued for the third quarter that ended Sept. 30, with net income increasing to $6.3 billion compared with $2.1 billion in the third quarter of last year.

Operating income increased to $6.2 billion in the third quarter, compared with an operating income of $3.2 billion in the third quarter of 2019. Operating cash flow increased 56% to $55.3 billion for the previous 12 months, compared with $35.3 billion for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2019.

Net sales increased by 37% to $96.1 billion in the third quarter, compared with $70 billion in third-quarter 2019. This translates to $12.37 per diluted share compared with $4.23 per share in last year’s third quarter.

“We’ve had some productivity headwinds as a result of COVID-19,” said Brian Olsavsky, Amazon CFO, on the quarterly earnings call. “To date this year, we’ve incurred $7.5 billion in incremental costs related to the pandemic, and we expect to incur an additional $4 billion in Q4.”

Olsavsky said the costs came from addressing new social distancing guidelines, providing personal protective equipment for employees and from the time needed to ramp up new facilities due to the increased demand caused by the pandemic.

The company also hired 250,000 new permanent employees in the third quarter followed by an additional 100,000 new employees in the month of October alone.

“Two years ago, we increased Amazon’s minimum wage to $15 for all full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees across the U.S. and challenged other large employers to do the same,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “Best Buy and Target have stepped up, and we hope other large employers will also make the jump to $15. Now would be a great time.

“Offering jobs with industry-leading pay and great healthcare, including to entry-level and front-line employees, is even more meaningful in a time like this, and we’re proud to have created more than 400,000 jobs this year alone,” he added. “We’re seeing more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season.”

During the third quarter, Amazon also hosted Amazon Accelerate, an event designed to share best practices with small businesses about how to serve customers in Amazon’s store and grow their businesses. At the virtual event, Amazon also announced plans to invest billions of dollars to help small- and medium-sized businesses succeed, and it outlined plans to onboard an additional 100,000 small- and medium-sized businesses in the next year.

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