Washington U.S. companies, trying to gauge Americans' appetites during the uneven economic recovery, added to their stocks of unsold goods in June for the second month in a row.
The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that stockpiles of goods on shelves and back lots edged up to a seasonally adjusted $1.1 trillion in June, a 0.2 percent increase from May's level.
Inventories also rose by 0.2 percent in May, which marked the first increase in 16 months.
The small buildup comes after a more than yearlong string of inventory reductions by businesses as they tried to cope with a slump that sapped demand and led to a pileup of unsold goods.
Economists believe that the massive inventory liquidation that had been taking place is coming to an end.
Wednesday's report showed that inventories at retailers rose by 0.5 percent in June, helped out by a 1.5 percent increase in sales.
Wholesalers boosted inventories by 0.3 percent, and sales went up 0.6 percent.