07/14/2015 10:25 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 01:12 EDT

US business stockpiles rise 0.3 per cent in May, while sales post third monthly gain

WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses added to their stockpiles in May, while sales rose for a third straight month.

The Commerce Department says business stockpiles in May edged up 0.3 per cent from the previous month on a seasonally adjusted basis. The result may indicate business optimism about future sales.

Sales in May were up 0.4 per cent following gains in March and April. Before March, sales had posted seven straight monthly declines.

Economists are forecasting that sales will keep rebounding in the second half of this year and that consumer spending will help lift overall economic growth.

The economy went into reverse in the first quarter, shrinking at an annual rate of 0.2 per cent. Analysts are forecasting a bounce back in the April-June period to 2.5 per cent growth.

Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press