WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. business stockpiles were unchanged in September, while sales rose at a healthy clip, a sign that companies may need to order more goods in the coming months.
The Commerce Department says business inventories were flat after an increase of 0.6 percent in August. Sales rose 1.4 percent.
The report suggests companies are prudently managing their supply chains. When sales rise faster than stockpiles, that typically means businesses will soon need to restock. That boosts demand for goods and then lifts factory production.
If stockpiles rise faster than sales, that can be a warning sign customers are cutting back and companies are getting stuck with unwanted merchandise.
September inventories were dragged by a 0.9 decrease in retail. Manufacturers' inventories rose 0.7 percent. Stockpiles at the wholesale level rose 0.3 percent.