By Rishika Sadam

Amazon.com Inc. reported a 77 per cent slump in quarterly profit as the company invested heavily in areas such as video content and in fast-growing economies such as India.

The company’s shares, already up nearly 41 per cent this year, were down 2.6  per cent at US$1,019 in after-hours trading on Thursday.

The shares touched a record high of US$1,083.31 in regular trading, helping CEO Jeff Bezos unseat fellow tech billionaire Bill Gates to become the world’s richest person, according to Forbes. Amazon said operating expenses rose 28.2 per cent to US$37.33 billion in the second quarter ended June 30.

The company also forecast an operating income of US$300 million to a loss of US$400 million for the current quarter.

Analysts had expected operating income of US$931 million, according to FactSet.

Amazon is known for making bold investments in new business areas even at the expense of profits, a strategy that is often criticized by investors.

The world’s biggest online retailer said net income fell to US$197 million, or 40 cents per share, from US$857 million, or $1.78 per share, a year earlier.

Net sales rose 24.8 per cent to US$37.96 billion.

Amazon, which is in the process of buying upscale grocer Whole Foods Market Inc., also plans to create more than 130,000 full-time and part-time jobs by mid-2018 to speed up delivery.

Analysts had expected a profit of $1.42 per share and revenue of $37.18 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.