WASHINGTON — Business inventories rose 0.4% in July on a seasonally adjusted basis, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Sales were up 0.7%. The inventories-to-sales ratio for the month was 1.27.

The median estimate economists polled by Thomson Reuters was for a 0.5% increase in inventories.

Excluding autos, retail inventories fell 0.2% as sales rose 0.4%. Auto inventories themselves showed a 0.4% increase in inventories and a 0.2% increase in sales.

In the other retail categories broken out by the Commerce Department, building materials and garden supplies stores had their inventories fall 0.3% and their sales fall 0.5%.

General merchandise stores saw inventories fall 0.4% and sales increase 0.4%. Department stores had a 0.3% inventory decline and a 0.8% sales decline. Clothing stores had inventories up 0.2% and sales down 0.3%.

Wholesale inventories were up 0.8% and manufacturing up 0.5% as previously reported.

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