Economic Report: Business inventories surge in November

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Businesses produced and stocked up on goods in November ahead of the holiday season.

Business inventories in the U.S. climbed 0.7% in November, just as the holiday shopping season got underway, to more than offset a decline in the prior month.

Sales rose a much smaller 0.1%, however, and that may have forced companies to discount more sharply during the holiday season. Retail sales were very weak in December aside from auto and gas dealers and online sellers.

The ratio of inventories to sales rose to 1.38 in November from 1.39, the government said Friday, though it was slightly lower compared to a year earlier when stockpiles of warehouse goods rose too high.

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