U.S. wholesale inventories rise solidly in March

U.S. wholesale inventories rose sightly less than initially estimated in March as sales surged amid robust demand.

The Commerce Department said on Friday that wholesale inventories increased 1.3%, instead of 1.4% as estimated last month. Stocks at wholesalers gained 1.0% in February. The component of wholesale inventories that goes into the calculation of gross domestic product increased 1.3% in March.

Wholesale inventories shot up 4.5% in March from a year earlier. Sales at wholesalers jumped 4.6% after being unchanged in February.

Overall, business inventories were depleted in the first quarter amid a burst in domestic demand. The inventory drawdown subtracted 2.64 percentage points from GDP growth last quarter. Still, the economy grew at a robust 6.4% annualized rate in the March-January period after expanding at a 4.3% pace in the fourth quarter.

At March’s sales pace it would take wholesalers 1.22 months to clear shelves, down from 1.26 months in February.