WASHINGTON — Business inventories edged up 0.4% to $1,619.2 billion in October, while sales fell 0.4% to $1,257.7 billion, the Commerce Department reported Thursday.

The October inventory gain followed an unrevised 0.7% uptick in September. The increase slightly surpassed the expectations of economists polled by Thomson Reuters, who predicted a 0.3% gain. Inventories climbed 5.7% over the same month in 2011.

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