Wholesale inventories jumped 1.2% in January, the largest increase in more than a year, the Commerce Department said Friday.
Sales fell 2.1% after changing little in December and rising 2.2% in November. The rise in inventories followed a 0.1% gain in December that was initially reported as a 0.1% drop.
Durable goods stockpiles rose 1.1%, Commerce said.
Economists had called for a 0.3% gain in wholesale inventories, Bloomberg News reported.
Wholesale inventories account for about one-fourth of total business stockpiles, while retailers and factories account for the rest.