Amazon predicts sales growth slowdown for holidays

STORY: In a sign that inflation-wary consumers have less money to spend, Amazon forecast a slowdown in sales growth for the holiday season.

Shares of the world’s biggest online retailer fell 14% in after-hours trade.

For months, Amazon has fought against a troubled economy. And on Thursday, in a call with reporters, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said the company was bracing for slower economic growth.

Olsavsky said (quote) "We are seeing signs all around that, again, people's budgets are tight, inflation is still high, energy costs are an additional layer on top of that caused by other issues.”

He said that while Amazon would continue to fund earlier-stage businesses like its lucrative cloud-computing and advertising divisions, it would question costs elsewhere and proceed carefully on hiring.

Amazon forecast net sales of between $140 billion and $148 billion, or growth as little as 2% from a year earlier. Analysts were expecting $155 billion.

Amazon is not alone.

Across the retail sector, U.S. online sales are expected to rise at their slowest pace in years this holiday season.

Results in the tech industry were also poor this week for cloud-computing rivals Microsoft and Google, adding to recession fears.