US wholesale stockpiles up in January, but sales fell

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. wholesale businesses increased their stockpiles by the largest amount in five months, but their sales fell for the sixth time in the past seven months.

The Commerce Department says inventories held by wholesale businesses rose 0.3 percent in January, the biggest increase since August.

Sales at the wholesale level dropped a sharp 1.3 percent. That the biggest setback since a similar fall in November and the sixth time that sales have been down in the past seven months.

U.S. businesses have struggled over the past year with spreading weakness overseas and a rising value of the dollar, which makes American products less competitive on foreign markets. Economists are hoping that this weakness can be overcome by solid gains in domestic demand. Consumer spending is expected to accelerate this quarter.