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US business inventories flat in March, sales fall

WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses left their stockpiles unchanged in March for a second month while their sales fell sharply.

The Commerce Department says business stockpiles showed no increase in March on a seasonally adjusted basis. Businesses hadn’t upped their restocking in February, either.

Sales fell 1.1 percent in March compared with February when sales had risen 1 percent.

A lack of inventory building could slow economic growth because it means businesses are ordering fewer factory-made goods.

But increased restocking at a time when sales are falling can also signal trouble for the economy, if businesses react by suddenly cutting back their stockpiles.



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