Image: Mike Seyfang Image: Mike Seyfang

Amazon has reported a strong rise in sales and profits in the first quarter of 2016, bucking the trend of major tech firms.

The online retailer's sales surged 28% to $29.1 billion in the first three months as profits hit $513 million (£351m), both areas beating analysts expectations.

Amazon said it was boosted by growth in its £80 Prime service subscribers, and strong sales of the Kindle reading tab and Fire tab devices. It also highlighted the contribution of its cloud services business, which saw 64% growth in revenue.

Chief executive Jeff Bezos said: "Amazon devices are the top selling products on Amazon, and customers purchased more than twice as many Fire tablets than first quarter last year."

Investors have kept a close eye on Amazon's profits over the years, with the company struggling to turn vast sales figures into consistent and meaningful profits. But a strong profit, coupled with the backdrop of other tech firms struggling, provided a welcome boost to Amazon and its shareholders.

Earlier this week, Apple posted its first ever fall in iPhone sales and its first fall in overall revenues in 13 years. And earlier this month, Microsoft reported a $1.2bn fall in quarterly profits as revenues and PC sales fell.