Online retail giant Amazon has posted a 32% rise in sales for the first quarter to just over $3bn (£1.5bn).

The company said pre-tax profits had risen from $96m (£48m) to $144m (£72m) year on year, but expects sales and profit growth to slow in the second quarter.

However, it forecast that its 2007 profits will be at least 19% higher than last year.

International sales accounted for 46% of its turnover during the three months, with revenues from Europe and Asia growing 35%.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said he was pleased with the company’s “overall strong growth”, as well as sign-ups to its Prime membership programme.