Amazon returned its second consecutive profitable quarter in the final quarter of 2002, thanks to strong international and Christmas sales in what promises to be a record period for e-tailers worldwide.

The online giant returned a net profit of $2.6 million on revenues of $1.42 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2002. This compares to a net income of $5 million on revenue of $1.15 billion for the fourth quarter of 2001.

For the full fiscal year 2002, the company reported operating income of $64 million on revenues of $3.9 billion.

Amazon had its busiest holiday shopping season ever during the quarter, with over 56 million items ordered between November 1 and December 23.

International segment sales from the company's UK, German, French and Japanese sites grew 76 per cent in the fourth quarter to $461 million. Additionally, book, music, DVD and video sales grew 13 per cent to $606 million during the quarter.