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Markets
Economics

Angst Over US Inventory Pileups Is Belied by Still-Solid Sales

  • General stores’ stocks-sales ratio at odd with other retailers
  • Factories’ finished durable-goods inventory lowest since 2013
Target shopping bags in front of a store in San Francisco, California, US. 

Target shopping bags in front of a store in San Francisco, California, US. 

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

A pileup of unsold goods at big-name retailers Target Corp. and Walmart Inc. stirred concerns about an economy at risk from an inventory overhang. But, for now, solid demand is helping soothe some of that anxiety.

Inventories rose an annualized $343 billion in the last two quarters, the biggest back-to-back build in government data back to 1999. Yet stockpiles are less concerning when compared with the total value of sales.