U.S. wholesale inventories rose by 0.4% in August as companies began to stock up again to replace dwindling supplies.
Inventories of durable goods, such as autos and lumber, increased by 0.6%. Stockpiles of nondurable goods were unchanged, however, largely because of a decline in the production of grocery staples and clothing.
The inventory-to-sales ratio slipped to 1.31 from 1.32 in the prior month and is back to precrisis levels.
The ratio soared early in the pandemic as sales nosedived and firms got stuck with an excess of goods. Yet the ratio has declined as the economy recovered and sales picked up.