Faced with the highest inflation in four decades, Amazon on Thursday posted its slowest quarterly growth in years.

The company reported revenue of $116.4 billion in the first three months of the year, up 7 percent year-on-year. That was down from sales growth of 44 percent in the first quarter of 2021. The number of products Amazon sold in the quarter was flat from a year earlier, and the cost of selling those items also increased.

Amazon lost $3.8 billion in the quarter, its first such loss since 2015. The loss included a $7.6 billion decline in the value of its investment in Amazon Rivian Automotive, an electric truck maker, whose shares have fallen this year. Losses also came from Amazon’s consumer businesses in North America and internationally, although its cloud services division continued to grow and make money.

The results fell far short of Wall Street expectations, causing Amazon’s share price to fall more than 10 percent in after-hours trading.

“Our teams are fully focused on improving productivity and cost efficiencies across our fulfillment network,” Andy Jassy, ​​the company’s chief executive, said in a statement. “We know how to do this and have done it before. This may take time, especially as we work our way through ongoing inflation and supply chain pressures.”

The company’s guidance for the current quarter of a 3 percent to 7 percent increase in sales indicated that growth could slow further.

Amazon benefited from the coronavirus pandemic as people flocked to shop online. But as vaccines are widespread and as inflation reached 8.5 percent in March, buyers became more nervous. According to Commerce Department data released Thursday, consumer spending was on the type of short-lived products people often buy on Amazon minus 2.5 percent in the first quarter compared to the last three months of 2021.

Faced with rising costs, Amazon has increased prices for customers and sellers on its marketplace. The price for the Prime membership program rose to $139 in Februaryfrom $119, the first increase since 2018. This month the company announced an additional “fuel and inflation” charge for sellers whose inventory it stores and ships to customers.

In mid-March, Amazon forced workers in several warehouses to take unpaid time off because of weak customer demand.

Labor shortages have also cost Amazon billions of dollars recently as it responded with wage increases and other incentives. The company barely increased its workforce in the quarter, totaling 1.62 million employees.

The company has also faced a surge in union activism. In April, workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted to become the first Amazon location in North America to be unionized.

Some investors have been optimistic that costs will come down. Amazon has invested heavily in expanding its own warehouse infrastructure, including opening delivery depots across the country that allow its network of contractors to get packages to your door quickly.



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