Wholesale business inventories rose for a 19th consecutive month in July while sales were flat, the Commerce Department said, increasing concerns that companies may cut back on restocking.
The 0.8 percent increase in inventories was boosted by automobiles and computer equipment, and followed a rise of 0.6 percent in July. Sales were unchanged, the weakest showing since a drop of 0.3 percent in May.
Stockpiles of durable goods, meant to last at least three years, rose 1 percent in July. Inventories of machinery rose 1.3 percent. Inventories of computer equipment rose 3.7 percent.
Non-durable goods inventories rose 0.5 percent, boosted by increases in stockpiles of apparel and petroleum. Sales of non-durable goods dropped 1.1 percent, the third straight monthly decrease.
Wholesale inventories make up about 30 percent of business inventories. Factory inventories, which make up 38 percent of the total, rose 0.5 percent in July. The Commerce Report will report on retail inventories Sept. 14.