* 2001年全球销售额增长了74%，其中四分之一来自美国之外的市场。英国和德国，作为我们在全球市场中最大的两个分站，首次实现了预计营收利润。我们在日本的分站仅开张了一年就在第四季度达到了年营收运转率（annual run rate）1亿美金
* 库存周转率（Inventory turns）从2000年的12 增至了2001年的16
我们推出了一个新的功能叫“试读（Look Inside the Book）”，用户可以不仅可以看书的封面，还可以看到封底、目录、引言和正文的一部分的高清大图。他们可以在做出购买决策之前真的“试读”一下。在我们数百万书籍里有超过20万种书支持这项服务。要知道一个大型图书超市，最多也就只有10万种书。
如我你能搞清楚两件事——一家公司的未来现金流和它的未来将发行的股票数量——你就能搞清楚这家公司当下股票的价值。（你还得知道合理的贴现率，但如果你知道确定的未来现金流，贴现率就相对容易选择了）这并不简单，但你可以通过考察公司过去的业绩，比如查看那家公司的杠杆率和增长性（leverage point and scalaility），来预测它未来的现金流。预测公司未来发行的股票数量需要你能够预测一些指标，比如员工期权（option grants）和其他可能的资本周转（capital transactions）。最终，你预估出这家公司的未来现金流将对你做出是否购买这家公司股票的决策起到关键作用。
鉴于我们希望保持我们的固定成本不变化，尽管这个数值很高，我们相信Amazon.com在未来几年能提供持续可靠的自由现金流。我们2002年的目标反映了这一点。正如我们在2002年一月发布去年第四季度财报时所说，我们打算今年让我们的营业现金流（Operating cash flow）为正，来产生自由现金流（这两者之间的差距是计划资本性支出（planned capital expenditures）中的7500万美金）。我们预计年净收入曲线将会大致和预计年现金流曲线走势一致。
To our shareholders:
In July of last year, Amazon.com reached an important way station. After four years of single-minded focus on growth, and then just under two years spent almost exclusively on lowering costs, we reached a point where we could afford to balance growth and cost improvement, dedicating resources and staffed projects to both. Our major price reduction in July, moving to discount books over $20 by 30% off list, marked this change.
This balance began to pay off in the fourth quarter, when we both significantly exceeded our own goals on the bottom line and simultaneously reaccelerated growth in our business. We lowered prices again in January when we offered a new class of shipping that is free (year-round) on orders over $99. Focus on cost improvement makes it possible for us to afford to lower prices, which drives growth. Growth spreads fixed costs across more sales, reducing cost per unit, which makes possible more price reductions. Customers like this, and it’s good for shareholders. Please expect us to repeat this loop.
As I mentioned, we exceeded our goals for the fourth quarter with pro forma operating profit of $59 million and pro forma net profit of $35 million. Thousands of Amazon.com employees around the world worked hard to achieve that goal; they are, and should be, proud of the accomplishment. More highlights from a notable year:
• Sales grew 13% from $2.76 billion in 2000 to $3.12 billion in 2001; we achieved our first billion-dollar quarter on reaccelerated sales and 23% year-over-year unit growth in Q4.
• We served 25 million customer accounts in 2001, compared to 20 million in 2000 and 14 million in 1999.
• International sales grew 74% in 2001, and more than one-quarter of sales came from outside the U.S. The U.K. and Germany, our largest international markets, had a combined pro forma operating profit for the first time in Q4. Open only a year, Japan grew to a $100 million annual run rate in Q4.
• Hundreds of thousands of small businesses and individuals made money by selling new and used products to our customers directly from our highly trafficked product detail pages. These Marketplace orders grew to 15% of U.S. orders in Q4, far surpassing our expectations when we launched Marketplace in November 2000.
• Inventory turns increased from 12 in 2000 to 16 in 2001.
• Most important, we stayed relentlessly focused on the customer, as reflected in a chart-topping score of 84 for the second year in a row on the widely followed American Customer Satisfaction Index conducted by the University of Michigan. We are told this is the highest score ever recorded--not just for any retailer, but for any service company.
Obsess over customers: our commitment continues
Until July, Amazon.com had been primarily built on two pillars of customer experience: selection and convenience. In July, as I already discussed, we added a third customer experience pillar: relentlessly lowering prices. You should know that our commitment to the first two pillars remains as strong as ever.
We now have more than 45,000 items in our electronics store (about seven times the selection you’re likely to find in a big-box electronics store), we’ve tripled our kitchen selection (you’ll find all the best brands), we’ve launched computer and magazine subscriptions stores, and we’ve added selection with strategic partners such as Target and Circuit City.
We’ve improved convenience with features like Instant Order Update, which warns you if you’re about to buy the same item twice (people are busy--they forget that they’ve already bought it!).
We’ve dramatically improved customer self-service capabilities. Customers can now easily find, cancel, or modify their own orders. To find an order, just make sure you are signed in and recognized by the site, and do a regular search on any product in your order. When you get to that product’s detail page, a link to your order will be at the top of the page.
We built a new feature called Look Inside the Book. Customers can view large high resolution images of not only the front cover of a book, but also the back cover, index, table of contents, and a reasonable sample of the inside pages. They can Look Inside the Book before making a buying decision. It’s available on over 200,000 of our millions of titles (as a point of comparison, a typical book superstore carries about 100,000 titles).
As my last example, I’ll just point out that one of the most important things we’ve done to improve convenience and experience for customers also happens to be a huge driver of variable cost productivity: eliminating mistakes and errors at their root. Every year that’s gone by since Amazon.com’s founding, we’ve done a better and better job of eliminating errors, and this past year was our best ever. Eliminating the root causes of errors saves us money and saves customers time.
Our consumer franchise is our most valuable asset, and we will nourish it with innovation and hard work.
An investment framework
In every annual letter (including this one), we attach a copy of our original 1997 letter to shareholders to help investors decide if Amazon.com is the right kind of investment for them, and to help us determine if we have remained true to our original goals and values. I think we have.
In that 1997 letter, we wrote, “When forced to choose between optimizing the appearance of our GAAP accounting and maximizing the present value of future cash flows, we’ll take the cash flows.”
Why focus on cash flows? Because a share of stock is a share of a company's future cash flows, and, as a result, cash flows more than any other single variable seem to do the best job of explaining a company's stock price over the long term.
If you could know for certain just two things--a company’s future cash flows and its future number of shares outstanding--you would have an excellent idea of the fair value of a share of that company’s stock today. (You’d also need to know appropriate discount rates, but if you knew the future cash flows for certain, it would also be reasonably easy to know which discount rates to use.) It’s not easy, but you can make an informed forecast of future cash flows by examining a company’s performance in the past and by looking at factors such as the leverage points and scalability in that company’s model. Estimating the number of shares outstanding in the future requires you to forecast items such as option grants to employees or other potential capital transactions. Ultimately, your determination of cash flow per share will be a strong indicator of the price you might be willing to pay for a share of ownership in any company.
Since we expect to keep our fixed costs largely fixed, even at significantly higher unit volumes, we believe Amazon.com is poised over the coming years to generate meaningful, sustained, free cash flow. Our goal for 2002 reflects just that. As we said in January when we reported our fourth quarter results, we plan this year to generate positive operating cash flow, leading to free cash flow (the difference between the two is up to $75 million of planned capital expenditures). Our trailing twelve-month pro forma net income should, roughly but not perfectly, trend like trailing twelve-month cash flow.
Limiting share count means more cash flow per share and more long-term value for owners. Our current objective is to target net dilution from employee stock options (grants net of cancellations) to an average of 3% per year over the next five years, although in any given year it might be higher or lower.
Relentless commitment to long-term shareholder value
As I’ve discussed many times before, we are firm believers that the long-term interests of shareholders are tightly linked to the interests of our customers: if we do our jobs right, today's customers will buy more tomorrow, we’ll add more customers in the process, and it will all add up to more cash flow and more long-term value for our shareholders. To that end, we are
committed to extending our leadership in e-commerce in a way that benefits customers and therefore, inherently, investors--you can’t do one without the other.
As we kick off 2002, I am happy to report that I am as enthusiastic as ever about this business. There is more innovation ahead of us than behind us, we are close to demonstrating the operating leverage of our business model, and I get to work with this amazing team of Amazonians all over the world. I am lucky and grateful. We thank you, our owners, for your support, your encouragement, and for joining us on this adventure. If you’re a customer, we thank you again!