THE UK boss of retail giant Amazon today predicted further strong growth this year as cautious shoppers hunt out the best bargains online.
The group - whose best-selling item in 2009 was the smash video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 - took two million UK orders on its busiest day in the run-up to Christmas, with 23 items bought every second.
Managing director Brian McBride said: "I’m not saying we’re recession-proof but when times are tough, people are looking for value."
His comments came as the US-based firm posted a 71% hike in profits to 384 million dollars (£238 million) in the three months to December 31 and forecast sales up to 43% higher than a year ago in the current quarter.
Other UK top-sellers for Amazon included the latest Harry Potter DVD - Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - and the CD from Britain's Got Talent star Susan Boyle, I Dreamed A Dream.
The firm also launched an Amazon application for the iPhone - the first dedicated mobile shopping ’app’ to help users browse and buy using their handsets.
This year Mr McBride expects video games and the new book from Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown to be among the biggest sellers, as well as a boost in demand for LCD televisions ahead of the World Cup this summer.
The company opened a new distribution base in Swansea in 2008 to cope with increased demand, but the UK chief added that he had "no doubt" the group would need more capacity in coming years at the current rate of growth.
Sales across the overall group reached 9.5 billion dollars (£5.9 billion) in the fourth quarter - 42% ahead of a year earlier.
Founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos launched Amazon.com’s online store in July 1995, a year after setting up the business. The shares were listed in 1997.