Inventories were up 0.3 percent to $1.65 trillion. Sales declined 0.1 to $1.26 trillion.
The monthly figures adding up manufacturing and trade inventories were in line with the consensus forecast.
The total business-inventories-to-sales ratio was 1.31, based on seasonally adjusted data, the Census Bureau said. A year ago, the ratio was 2.27.
The ratio indicates how long it will take to sell existing inventory at current prices. As the ratio rises, it indicates manufacturers may have too much inventory on hand and may adjust by slowing production.