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BRIEFLY

The Economy

July 10, 1996|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Wholesale Inventories Drop in May: Inventories of goods at U.S. wholesalers unexpectedly fell 0.2%, the second decline this year and a sign that businesses underestimated a recent rebound in consumer spending. The May inventories decline follows a revised 1.2% increase in April, Commerce Department figures show. Initially, the government reported June 7 that inventories increased 1.3% during April. Wholesale sales, meanwhile, showed no change in May after rising 1.1% during April. Analysts had predicted an increase of 0.3% in inventories at the nation's wholesalers in May. Wholesalers' inventories of big-ticket items--products such as furniture, lumber and electrical items--accounted for much of the decline in May. Wholesale auto inventories showed no change from a month earlier. However, inventories of non-durable goods, such as groceries and beer, increased.

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