Online retail giant Amazon has posted a third quarter loss, behind Wall Street expectations, as it was hit by a poor performance at online deals business Living Social as well as investment in the Kindle e-reader and distribution centres. 

Amazon posted a $274m (£170m) loss between July and September against earnings of $63m in the same period last year. 

The results included a loss of 37 cents per share on the etailer’s minority stake in LivingSocial.

Revenue was lower than forecast, although it still rose 27% to $13.81bn (£8.6bn) in the period.

Investment in the Kindle and new offices in China also contributed to the loss, said Amazon chief financial officer Tom Szkutak.

Amazon is also ploughing money into distribution centres and this month is hiring 50,000 Christmas workers at its US distribution centres. 

The retailer revealed the best-selling product on the site was the Kindle Fire HD tablet which launched in the period at a low price to seize market share.

Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said: “Our approach is to work hard to charge less. Sell devices near break-even and you can pack a lot of sophisticated hardware into a very low price point.”

For the current period, which includes Christmas, Amazon forecast revenues of between $20.25bn (£12.6bn) and $22.75bn (£14.1bn).