US businesses boosted stockpiles modest 0.3 percent in February although sales remain weak

Economic Indicators Associated Press

In this March 31, 2015, photo, Ed Fotta sorts hardwood at the Allegheny Millwork and Lumberyard in Pittsburgh. The Commerce Department releases business inventories for February on Tuesday, April 14, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (The Associated Press)

U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles by a moderate amount in February although total business sales were weak for a seventh straight month.

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The Commerce Department says businesses boosted stockpiles 0.3 percent in February after no growth in January. Sales were flat in February following a 2.3 percent plunge in January. Sales by businesses have either fallen or been flat for the past seven months with the last increase coming in July.

Economic growth has been slow over the past six months but economists are looking for a rebound in the current April-June quarter, led by stronger consumer spending. Analysts expect solid job growth will boost incomes and that will translate into stronger spending. A separate report shows that retail sales increased 0.9 percent in March after three months of declines.