WASHINGTON — Business inventories advanced 0.6% to $1,601.7 billion in August, while sales climbed 0.5% to $1,246.6 billion, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

The August inventory gain followed an unrevised 0.8% uptick in July. The increase slightly surpassed the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who predicted a 0.5% rise. Inventories rose 5.3% over the same month in 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.