WASHINGTON - Business inventories were up 0.3% to $1,578.4 billion in May, while sales fell 0.1% to $1,245.2 billion, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

The May inventory gain followed a revised 0.3% gain in April, originally reported as a 0.4% advance. The increase slightly outperformed the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who predicted a 0.2% rise. Inventories jumped 5.2% compared to May 2011.

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