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THE ECONOMY : Inventories Rise Again in February : Indicators: Stocks of unsold goods increase at the manufacturing, retail and wholesale levels as consumer demand flags.

April 15, 1993|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — Stocks of unsold goods piled up for a fifth straight month during February, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, mainly because of weaker demand at retail stores.

Higher inventories, especially at the retail level, suggest that consumer demand has flagged after a strong Christmas sales season.

The department said inventories at the manufacturing, retail and wholesale level grew during February by 0.4% to a seasonally adjusted $854.05 billion--the steepest monthly gain since an identical 0.4% rise last July.

Inventory levels were also revised upward to a 0.3% gain for January after being initially reported as unchanged.

Unsold stocks have now risen in every month since October, with the biggest rise in February occurring at the retail level. Retail inventories grew by 1% in February to a seasonally adjusted $265.15 billion.

Total business sales in February were up by 0.6% to a seasonally adjusted $585.42 billion after being revised to show no change in January.

Previously, the department said total sales by manufacturers, retailers and wholesale companies had fallen by 0.2% in January.

Sales by retailers alone fell in February by 0.3% to a seasonally adjusted $168.66 billion. On Tuesday, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales in March declined again, dropping 1% to $166.9 billion.

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