The hope is steadily rising sales will encourage businesses to begin restocking shelves, a move that would boost production and bolster an economic recovery. But worries persist that consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, could falter as various government stimulus programs begin to wane and unemployment keeps surging.
The Commerce Department says businesses reduced inventories at the wholesale level 0.9 percent in September, slightly less than the expected 1 percent drop. Sales by wholesalers rose 0.7 percent, slightly better than the 0.6 percent gain economists expected.
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