U.S. companies may be feeling upbeat about the future, a report released… (Joy Lewis / Abilene Reporter-News )
U.S companies restocked their inventories at a steady pace in February, a sign that businesses are hopeful about future sales.
The U.S. Department of Commerce released data Monday showing inventories at the end of February reached $1.58 billion, up 0.6% from January and up 7.6% from February 2011.
“As domestic demand holds up, then we could possibly see inventories build as suppliers try to meet the rising demand, so that will certainly add to activity,” Millan Mulraine, a senior U.S. strategist at TD Securities in New York, told Bloomberg News before the report was released. “Inventories are not going to be the big factor that they were a year or two ago, but they still remain an important factor.”
A separate report released Monday from the same federal agency showed retail and food sales for March, adjusted for seasonal variations, were $411.1 billion, an increase of 0.8% from February and 6.5% from March 2011.
The biggest growth came in the sales of building materials and gardening equipment, which jumped 3% in March, according to the report. Other sales categories that increased substantially, the report said, were home furniture, automobiles and parts, gasoline, electronics and appliances.
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