Wholesale inventories rose 0.5% in November after a rise the prior month, the Commerce Department reported Jan. 10.
Sales increased 1% in November after a 1.1% rise the prior month. The rise in inventories followed a revised 1.3% climb in October, which originally was reported as a 1.4% gain.
Inventories excluding oil increased 0.8% in November, and excluding automobiles they rose 1%.
Economists had called for a 0.4% 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.