The U.S. Commerce Department released the business inventories data on Thursday. The U.S. business inventories were flat in January, beating expectations for a 0.2% increase, after a flat reading in December. December's figure was revised up from a 0.1% rise.
Business sales declined 2.0% in January, the largest decrease since March 2009.
Retail inventories excluding autos climbed 0.1% in January, after a flat reading in December.
The business inventories/sales ratio climbed 1.35 months in January from 1.33 in December, the highest ration since July 2009. The business inventories /sales ratio is a measure of how long it would take to clear shelves.