Amazon.com's success over the holiday sales period helped the online retailer achieve strong Q4 results in 2008, with net income up 9% on the previous year to $225 million for the period ending Dec. 31. The 2007 Q4 net income figure was $207 million.

Revenue at the Seattle-based online retailer increased 18% to $6.7 billion in the fourth quarter, compared with $5.67 billion in Q4 in 2007.

The strong figures follow a string of disappointing retail results from Wal-Mart Stores to eBay.

"We remain relentlessly focused on serving customers with low prices, great selection and free shipping offers, including Amazon Prime," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, in a statement. "We're particularly grateful for the unusually strong demand for Kindle in the fourth quarter."

The company's net sales for the full year increased 29% to $19.17 billion, compared with $14.84 billion in 2007. Net income increased 36% to $645 million in 2008, compared with net income of $476 million in the previous year.

Sales increases were similar across the company's North American and international operations. The U.S. and Canadian sites sales for Q4 were up 18% from the previous year to $3.63 billion. International sales for the U.K., Japanese, German, French and Chinese Amazon sites were up 19% on Q4 in 2007 to $3.07 billion. The company said that international sales increased 31% if currency fluctuations were taken into account.

Worldwide media sales -- covering books, movies, music, digital downloads, software and video games -- grew 9% to $3.64 billion, compared with $3.33 billion in Q4 in 2007. The worldwide sales figure for electronics and other general merchandise was up 31% on the previous year's quarter to $2.89 billion ($2.21 billion in Q4 2007).

The company said it expects net sales to grow between 9% and 19% for Q1 in 2009, between $4.525 billion and $4.925 billion, compared to the previous year's quarter.

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