U.S. business inventories rose in January, but a drop in sales meant it was now taking the longest time since late 2009 to move goods from shelves.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday inventories rose 0.4 percent after increasing 0.5 percent in December.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast inventories increasing 0.4 percent in January.
Inventories are a key component of gross domestic product changes. Retail inventories, excluding autos, which go into the calculation of GDP, gained 0.7 percent.