Inventories fall, but sales fall faster


U.S. businesses are doing their best to reduce excess inventory, but declining sales continue to negate that progress.

Business inventories fell in 1.0 percent in March, but sales fell even faster, declining 1.6 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Wednesday. Further, aided by statistical rounding, the inventory-to-sales ratio remained at 1.44. A year ago, the ratio was 1.28.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected inventories to decline 0.8 percent in March. Inventories fell 1.3 percent in February and 1.1 percent in January. Inventories have fallen 3.5 percent since February 2008.