WASHINGTON — Business inventories were up 0.4% to $ 1,575.1 billion in April, while sales rose 0.2% to $1,249.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday.

The April increase in inventories followed an unrevised 0.3% gain in March. Inventories rose 6.0% from April 2011.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected a 0.3% increase.

Excluding motor vehicles, inventories rose 0.1% over the previous month.

The 0.2% gain in April sales followed a downwardly revised 0.2% increase in March, originally reported as a 0.6% climb. The April figure was 5.4% over sales in April 2011.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.