Back in March 12, ChannelAdvisor reported Amazon.com's (NASDAQ:AMZN) "same-store" sales. These came out at +30.8%, but since 2012 had been a leap year, one could adjust those numbers to show a +34.8% year-on-year growth, so representing growth over January's pace. This is how ChannelAdvisor reported it:
Amazon - In February, Amazon came in at 30.8%. When you compare that to January's 34.3%, and normalize/account for leap year (30.8%+4%=34.8%), it's actually a bit higher than January's pace.
Now, come April 8, ChannelAdvisor is reporting Amazon.com's March numbers. These came in at +31.6%, so down from the adjusted February pace. How do you think ChannelAdvisor reported this? As follows …
Amazon - In March, Amazon came in at 31.6% which is a nice tick up from Feb's 30.8%.
So here you have it. In February ChannelAdvisor thought it was right to use an adjusted number, and March it doesn't think it's right to do so any longer. This makes no sense and shows an intrinsic bias to paint the numbers as rosy as possible. The truth is that if one were to calculate Amazon.com's "same-store" sales on a per day basis, then both numbers would have to be adjusted, meaning February's pace would be higher and March would show a deceleration.
The implication remains the same
Either way, it doesn't matter. Using either the adjusted or unadjusted numbers, Amazon.com's Q1 pace is either +33.6% or +32.2%. This compares with +38.5% in Q4 2012, and thus:
- It implies a deceleration (-4.9% to -6.3%) in growth. Since overall Amazon.com revenues are expected to grow 22.6% in Q1 2013 and grew 22% in Q4 2012, it thus implies that Amazon.com's Q1 2013 revenues are tracking below consensus;
- Furthermore, as I've explained in another article, ChannelAdvisor's data has consistently predicted the direction of Amazon.com's revenue growth rate. And Q1 2013's numbers, adjusted or not, imply a lower revenue growth rate. It would take a first-time failure in this model for this prediction not to come true.
ChannelAdvisor is clearly fishing for a positive interpretation of its data so as to paint the most positive picture possible for Amazon.com. This is obvious from the fact that it used adjusted data to promote February data, and now uses non-adjusted data to promote March.
Yet, adjusted or non-adjusted, the data continues to point towards the same prediction: Amazon.com's revenue growth rate will be lower during Q1 2013 than it was during Q4 2012 and Amazon.com will miss the present $16.2 billion revenue consensus for Q1 2013.