Wholesale inventories rose 1.4% in October after a rise the prior month, the Commerce Department reported Dec. 10.
Sales increased 1% in September after a 0.8% rise the prior month. The rise in inventories followed a 0.5% climb in August.
Inventories excluding oil increased 1.4% in October, and excluding automobiles they rose 1.5%.
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. Retailers and factories account for the rest.