• Amazon swings to full-year profit of $596m (£415m) in 2015
  • Etailer posts most profitable quarter ever as sales surge 22% to $35.7bn (£24.9bn)
  • But Amazon’s share price drops 12% after missing forecasts

Amazon has swung to a full-year profit driven by its most profitable quarter ever, but the etailer’s earnings failed to impress investors.

The US etail giant revealed a net profit of $596m (£415m) for the year ended December 31, 2015 compared with a $241m (£168m) loss in 2014. Net sales surged 20% to $107bn (£745m) during the calendar year.

That was driven by a record fourth quarter in which revenues surged 22% to $35.7bn (£24.9bn). Profits more than doubled to $482m (£336m).

But Amazon said its quarterly performance was held back by increased operating expenses and slow growth in its cloud services business. Its share price dropped 12% during after-hours trading after missing Wall Street expectations.

The etailer has forecast sales of between $26.5bn (£18.5bn) and $29bn (£20.2bn) during the first quarter of 2016. That would represent a rise of between 17% and 28% year on year.

Amazon founder and boss Jeff Bezos said: “Twenty years ago, I was driving the packages to the post office myself and hoping we might one day afford a forklift.

“This year, we pass $100bn in annual sales and serve 300 million customers.

“And still, measured by the dynamism we see everywhere in the marketplace and by the ever-expanding opportunities we see to invent on behalf of customers, it feels every bit like day one.”

Amazon’s operating expenses advanced by more than 20% to $34.6bn (£24.1bn) as it continued to invest in new opportunities and grow its international reach.

Last week the etailer revealed it was recruiting for 2,500 new jobs in the UK as part of its European expansion plans, taking the total number of people it employs in Britain to 14,500.

Rumours in the City have suggested Amazon could be mulling a takeover bid for online grocer Ocado as it looks to further increase its presence in the UK.

Amazon’s results come just days after tech giant Apple posted record profits of $18.4bn (£12.8bn) and record sales of $75.9bn (£52.9bn) in the final quarter of 2015, but warned that iPhone sales would fall for the first time ever this year