In preparation for a recent presentation, I updated four Amazon.com charts. As I noted here, Amazon won’t disclose its Seattle-area employment. I see its footprints in data compiled by the Washington’s Employment Security Department. These footprints are illustrated in the top-most chart.
The company’s head count has increased nearly four-fold in less than four years. This helps explain its explosive demand for office space in Seattle. The company is literally remaking downtown Seattle and South Lake Union.
S&P Capital IQ reports that the company’s return on revenue is a miniscule 0.4%, lower by a factor of four than peers such as 1-800-FLOWERS.com. Competitor Priceline Group, roughly a third the size of Amazon.com on the top line, returns nearly 28% on each dollar of revenue.
Wall Street has largely given Amazon a pass on its lack of robust profitability. At least until this year. The stock today trades at roughly 25% below the high reached in January.