Business inventories were up 0.8% and sales levels rose 1.5% in January, according to Commerce Department data released yesterday.

Business inventories rose to $1.458 billion following an upwardly revised 0.7% gain in December, originally reported as a 0.6% rise. IFR Markets had projected that business inventories would be up 0.5% in the month. Overall inventories were 4.8% above the January 2007 level, according to Commerce.

Meanwhile, the 1.5% increase in overall business sales brought the category to $1.163 billion. The January figure followed a downwardly revised 0.6% decline in December, originally reported as a 0.5% decrease, and compared to IFR’s projected 0.3% decrease.

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