Amazon has posted a surge in third quarter profits but delivered a muted festive sales forecast.

The online giant registered an operating income of $3.7bn in the three months to September 30, up from $347m a year ago.

The spike in profitability was driven by a 29% jump in sales to $56.6bn during the period.

But Amazon said it expected year-on-year sales growth of between 10% and 20% during the crucial golden quarter.

That would represent a marked slowdown from its third quarter performance.

Amazon blamed the modest Christmas forecast on factors including currency fluctuations and said year-on-year comparisons were complicated by changes to the business, including the acquisition of Whole Foods.

Last year’s purchase of the grocery chain meant Amazon’s physical locations raked in $4.2bn in sales during the quarter.

Online revenues increased 10% compared to the same three-month-period in 2017, totalling more than $29bn.

The increase in Amazon’s bottom line came despite operating expenses increasing by a fifth.

Amazon said the added costs came from investments in its Prime membership scheme, creating more original content for Amazon Prime Video and launching home delivery from Whole Foods stores.