WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in September, further evidence that economic growth was stronger over the summer than first thought.
The Commerce Department says inventories grew 0.7 percent in September, after a 0.6 percent increase in August.
Retailers, manufacturers and wholesale distributors all boosted their stockpiles. Their sales rose 1.4 percent in September— the most in more than a year.
Companies typically increase their stockpiles when they anticipate sales will rise in coming months. Faster restocking helps drive economic growth. When businesses order more goods, it usually leads to more factory production.
Still, a separate report shows retail sales dropped in October. That suggests companies will have to cut back on rebuilding their stockpiles in the final three months of this year, which could slow economic growth.