THE final Harry Potter novel and music from Amy Winehouse were UK bestsellers for online shopping group Amazon as the company posted healthy sales.
Demand for Winehouse’s Back to Black album and the last in the series of the boy wizard’s adventures, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, helped Amazon’s international operation boost third-quarter sales 40% to £718.7m.
Heavy discounting meant Amazon did not make a profit on the Harry Potter book, but UK managing director Brian McBride said the company benefited from the “halo effect” as shoppers also bought other items.
UK internet shoppers also splashed out on Nintendo’s Wii games console, the Halo 3 shoot-em-up, and the Doctor Who sonic screwdriver torch. Amazon worldwide saw overall net income improve more than 300% to £39.1m on sales 41% higher at £1.59bn, although the lower prices ate into margins, which slipped nearly 1% to 23.4%.
It expects Christmas sales of up to £2.63bn – nearly 40% higher than last year’s.
Mr McBride said Amazon’s UK business sent 700,000 parcels a day before last Christmas and it expected that to rise 30% this year. He said the recent postal strike had had no lingering effect as the company used a range of carriers.
Although high street retailers have voiced fears over the effect of interest rate rises on consumer spending, Mr McBride said: “The great British thirst for the latest gifts and toys remains undiminished. We’re still enjoying migration to the internet.”
According to research, UK consumers are expected to spend more than £500 each on internet Christmas shopping – 40% more than last year.