Washington Business inventories rose in June as car dealers restocked to meet demand, although sales at companies fell the most in over three years, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.
Inventories increased 0.1 percent to $1.58 trillion after rising by 0.3 percent in May.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inventories rising 0.2 percent in June.
Inventories were lifted by a 1.6 percent rise in restocking by auto dealers, in line with strong demand for motor vehicles from households earlier this year.
Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product. Retail inventories outside of autos - a measure which goes into the calculation of gross domestic product - edged 0.1 percent higher.
Inventories at manufacturers increased 0.1 percent in June.
In a more worrisome sign, business sales fell for the third straight month, dropping 1.1 percent to $1.23 trillion. At June's pace of sales, it would take 1.29 months for businesses to clear shelves, the highest measure for the reading since February 2010.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Neil Stempleman)