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--Retail Inventories Up 0.7%, Unrev From Advance Estimate 
--Total Business Inventories Excluding Retail Auto Up 0.3%
--Unpublished Retail Components Down 0.6%, MNI Calculation Shows
By Shikha Dave and Harrison Clarke
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - The value of business inventories in August were 
up 0.5%, slightly below the 0.6% increase expected by analysts, data 
released by the Commerce Department Monday morning showed. 
     Retail inventories rose 0.7%, unrevised from the gain in the 
advance estimate. Data from the wholesale inventory report showed a 1.0% 
rise in the month, which was revised up from the 0.8% gain in the 
advance report, while factory inventories were down 0.1%. 
     According to an MNI calculation, if a 1.8% increase in motor 
vehicle inventories had been excluded, total business inventories would 
have been up 0.3% in August. The increase in motor vehicles 
inventories was revised down from a 2.0% gain in the advance estimate. 
     After excluding the increase in motor vehicle inventories, the 
remaining retail categories were flat, revised down from the advance 
estimate. There were increases for most categories, slightly offset by 
a 0.2% decline in department stores. 
     The relatively large unpublished retail category fell 0.6% 
following a 0.6% decrease in July, according to an MNI calculation. 
     August business sales posted a 0.5% increase in the month, in line 
with the 0.5% rise forecast by MNI after the wholesale data were 
released, but before the downward revision to August retail trade sales 
released earlier Monday morning. 
     Retail sales excluding food services were flat in August, revised 
down from the 0.1% gain reported last month. There was a previously 
announced 0.5% gain for factory shipments, which are equal to sales in 
this report, and wholesale sales. 
     The inventory-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.34 in August due to 
the similar gains in sales and inventories this month. The ratio 
remains well below the 1.39 level seen in August 2017, as sales growth 
has sharply outpaced inventory growth over the last year. 
     The August growth in business inventories is a positive factor for 
the third quarter, but it remains to be seen whether inventory growth 
slows over the next month. 
     ** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **