US wholesale stockpiles up slight 0.1 per cent in March despite eighth straight drop in sales

WASHINGTON – U.S. wholesalers expanded stockpiles modestly in March even though their sales fell for an eighth straight month.

The Commerce Department says wholesale stockpiles edged up 0.1 per cent following a 0.2 per cent rise in February. Sales at the wholesale level fell 0.2 per cent after an even bigger 0.6 per cent drop in February. Sales have fallen every month since August.

Economists are expecting that sales will rebound in coming months as the warmer weather lures shoppers back to shopping malls and auto dealerships. The pickup in demand is expected to give a boost to consumer spending, which accounts for 70 per cent of economic activity.

Higher demand at the retail level should spur increased restocking at all levels of business including wholesalers.