Business Sales Soar; Inventories Expand

Business sales and inventories were both up in March, according to a Commerce Department report (link opens as PDF) released today.

Seasonally adjusted sales grew 1% from February to reach $1,326 billion for the month. The largest percentage gain growers were retailers (+1.5%) and merchant wholesalers (+1.4%), while manufacturing increased just 0.3%. From today's lackluster April retail report, however, it seems that strong sales might not be here to stay.

A 6.5% year-over-year boost in merchant wholesalers sales in March provided the primary push behind a 4.3% rise in total business sales when comparing March 2014 to March 2013. Manufacturing was up just 2.6% in the same period.

As March sales soared, inventories increased a seasonally adjusted 0.4% to $1,717 billion. Analysts were almost spot-on, having predicted a 0.5% rise. Merchant wholesalers proved to be the big inventory builders for March, expanding 1.1% as retailers flatlined and manufacturers edged up just 0.1%. Overall inventories were up 4.7% year over year in March.

To understand the rate at which goods are being made and sold, economists compute an inventories/sales ratio. Since sales and inventories expanded relatively similar amounts from February to March, the inventories/sales ratio stayed steady at 1.30. The March 2013 ratio was 1.29.

Source: Census.gov. 


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2955790, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/19/2014 4:01:00 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement