Business inventories increased 0.2% in October, the first increase in 13 months, the Commerce Department reported Friday.
Total business sales increased 1.1% in October, the fifth consecutive monthly increase.
The inventories-to-sales ratio dropped to 1.30 for the month, the lowest level since July 2008.
Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected business inventories to decline 0.3 in October, according to the median estimate. Business inventories declined 0.5% in September, revised upwards from the 0.4% decline initially reported.