WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. companies restocked their shelves in July at the fastest pace since January while sales rose at a healthy pace. That could boost economic growth because rising inventories push up factory production.
The Commerce Department says business inventories grew 0.8 percent in July, up from June's 0.1 percent gain. Sales jumped 0.9 percent, the most this year, after a steep fall in June.
The biggest growth in stockpiles was among retailers and auto dealers. Stockpiles at manufacturers and wholesalers rose more slowly. Companies typically boost their inventories if they anticipate rising sales in future months.
Total business stockpiles rose to $1.59 trillion. That's nearly 21 percent higher than the low reached in September 2009 when businesses were slashing inventories in response to the recession.