By Michelle Graff
Seattle--Sales were up again for in the fourth quarter, with the company reporting a 20 percent increase to $25.59 billion as compared with $21.27 billion in the same period last year.

Operating income during the quarter ended Dec. 31 was also up, increasing by 26 percent to $510 million compared with $405 million in 2012.
Net income increased to $239 million in the three-month period versus $97 million in the year-earlier period.

In North America, which includes the company’s U.S. and Canadian sites, net sales hit $15.33 billion during the quarter. Sales of electronics and other merchandise, the category that includes fine jewelry, increased from $8.5 billion last year to $10.65 billion.

The company also reported a record-setting holiday season for its annual membership program, Amazon Prime.

In remarking on the company’s performance, CEO Jeff Bezos said it is a “good time” to be an Amazon customer, noting that Forrester, YouGov, and ForeSee all recently ranked Amazon No. 1 in customer service. “We believe we’re just scratching the surface of what world-class customer service can be,” he said.

For the full financial year, Amazon’s net sales increased 22 percent to $74.45 billion, while operating income increased 10 percent to $745 million.

Net income was $274 million for the year compared with net loss of $39 million in 2012.

The 12-month period for the North American region brought an increase in sales from $34.81 billion in 2012 to $44.52 billion in 2013, led by an increase in sales of electronics and other merchandise to $29.99 billion.

Looking to the first quarter 2014, Amazon said that it expects net sales to be between $18.2 billion and $19.9 billion, or to grow between 13 percent and 24 percent compared with first quarter 2013.

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