WASHINGTON – U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in August by the smallest amount in more than a year, while sales fell by the largest amount since January. The data suggest that the economy is still having trouble gaining momentum.
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The Commerce Department says inventories edged up a slight 0.2 percent in August after a 0.4 percent July increase. It was the smallest gain in stockpiles since June 2013. Total business sales fell 0.4 percent in August after a 0.7 percent sales increase in July. It was the biggest monthly sales decline since a 1.1 percent drop in January.
When companies add goods to their stockpiles, it typically reflects optimism about future demand. When inventory growth slows, it can be a sign of concerns about future demand.