Amazon has reported a rise in sales and earnings over the Christmas quarter and is to increase the cost of a subscription to its Prime service.

Amazon posted a rise in net sales of 9% to $137.4bn (£101.1bn) in the quarter to December 31, 2021.

Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon

Andy Jassy said Amazon saw ‘higher costs driven by labour supply shortages and inflationary pressures’

Net income doubled to $14.3bn (£10.5bn) in the period, helped by a gain from an investment, but operating income fell to $3.5bn (£2.6bn) from $6.9bn (£5.1bn) the previous year.

Amazon said it will increase the price of a Prime membership in the US from $12.99 to $14.99 on a monthly basis, and from $119 to $139 annually – the first rise since 2018. The change will start next month.

The price increase came as Amazon chief executive Andy Jassy flagged rising costs and continued Covid uncertainty.

He said: ”As expected over the holidays, we saw higher costs driven by labour supply shortages and inflationary pressures, and these issues persisted into the first quarter due to Omicron. Despite these short-term challenges, we continue to feel optimistic and excited about the business as we emerge from the pandemic.”

Amazon said that it had its biggest-ever Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping weekend with clothing, beauty, home and toys among the top-selling categories.

Amazon’s quarterly growth was boosted by earnings from its web services business, which were up 40% year on year.

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