U.S. Businesses Boost Stockpiles as Sales Grow

WASHINGTON (AP) -

U.S. businesses restocked their shelves and warehouses in July at the fastest pace since January as their sales rose, a hopeful sign for economic growth.

Business stockpiles increased 0.4 percent in July from June, the Commerce Department said Friday, after ticking up just 0.1 percent the previous month. Total business sales rose 0.6 percent in July, up from just 0.2 percent in June.

Rising stockpiles can be a good sign for the economy because they suggest companies expect greater sales. Greater inventory building also means businesses ordered more goods, boosting factory production and economic growth. And higher sales mean that companies are less likely to be stuck with excess goods.