Imagine a quoted UK retailer telling the City that it might make no money over the peak Christmas trading period. Zilch. Not a sausage.

An update like that would probably be accompanied by news that, with immediate effect, the services of the chief executive, and probably other members of his team, were no longer required.

But not so with Amazon, which has indicated that operating income in its fourth quarter might come in at as little as $0.

On the other hand, at the opposite end of its guidance range, it could notch up earnings of $1.25bn (£1bn) over the period.

The possibility of zero profits and the vast span between the potential outcomes, shows once again that Amazon, like the past, is another country – and they do things differently there.

The etail Goliath continues to invest what might otherwise be profit in everything from fulfilment to innovations such as its Alexa virtual assistant or entry into new categories, as with Amazon Fresh.

There is even speculation that a network of as many as 2,000 grocery stores could be on the cards in the US.

While there was some disappointment on Wall Street following Amazon’s update, its shares fell only 7%. Hardly a crash.

The point about Amazon that other retailers should take notice of is its determination to suck up market share wherever it can. Its astonishing efficiency and convenience continue to attract shoppers in droves.

And investor confidence that the business will succeed in its long-term objectives is one reason why they treat it differently than they do traditional retailers.

The question in UK retail boardrooms should not be about how Amazon ‘gets away’ with making no money over Christmas, but about how to protect and extend their own market shares.

Quote of the day

“Declining optimism about economic prospects for the wider UK economy has depressed the consumer mood.”

Gfk head of market dynamics Joe Staton

Today in numbers

£885m – annual rise in business rates faced by businesses in London

Tomorrow’s agenda

It’s the weekend, so no updates. An opportunity though to check out which retailers have done the best Halloween marketing and offers.

George MacDonald, executive editor