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Sales boost for Amazon as retail giant expands Indian operation

Online retail giant Amazon saw a 23% increase in sales in the first quarter of 2017, the technology giant has announced.

The firm reported net sales of more than 35.7 billion dollars (£27.6bn) for the three months ending March 31, up from 29.1 billion (£22.5bn) for the same period last year.

The figures were higher than analysts predicted ahead of the announcement, which also included a net income rise from of more than 200 million dollars (£155m) on the same quarter last year, to 724 million dollars (£561m).

Founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos used the announcement to praise the company's expansion into India.

"Our India team is moving fast and delivering for customers and sellers," he said.

"The team has increased Prime selection by 75% since launching the programme nine months ago, increased fulfilment capacity for sellers by 26% already this year, announced 18 Indian Original TV series, and just last week introduced a Fire TV Stick optimised for Indian customers with integrated voice search in English and Hindi.

"We're grateful that customers are responding, Amazon.in is the most visited and the fastest growing marketplace in India.

"It's still day one for e-commerce in India, and I assure you that we'll keep investing in technology and infrastructure while working hard to invent on behalf of our customers and small and medium businesses in India."

Amazon has greatly expanded from its online retail roots, launching the Amazon Echo smart speaker in the UK last year, while earlier this year its original movie Manchester By The Sea won three Academy Awards, including best actor for Casey Affleck.

The company now also rivals Netflix for TV and movie streaming services, through its Amazon Fire TV line of streaming products.

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