WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. companies boosted their stockpiles at the fastest rate in nine months as their sales grew. The gain in restocking indicates businesses anticipated a healthy holiday shopping season.
The Commerce Department says business inventories increased 0.7 percent in October, following a 0.6 percent gain in September. Sales rose 0.5 percent, above a 0.3 percent gain the previous month.
The increase could signal better growth in the October-December quarter than some economists had anticipated. Greater restocking boosts growth because it requires more factory production.
Growth is still likely to slow from the July-September quarter's robust 3.6 percent annual rate, half of which came from a jump in restocking.
But consumers appear to be spending more, a trend that will help keep the economy growing at solid pace.