) -- Businesses added to their stockpiles for the second month in a row, according to a report from the Commerce Department.
Total business inventories rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.4% in November, a tick better than the anticipated 0.3% jump expected by a survey of economists, according to consensus figures provided by Briefing.com.
Still, inventories were down 11.1% since the same time last year.
After 13 straight months of declines, inventories rose for the first time in October, ticking higher by 0.2%. But that tally was revised higher in this most recent report, showing a 0.4% rise during that month as well.
Last Friday, the government said wholesale inventories rose by a surprisingly strong 1.5% in November. Sales surged 3.3%, its strongest showing in 10 months.
Manufacturing inventories also edged higher by 0.2%.
But today's report showed retail inventories dragged on the total, going lower by 0.2% in November, as sales improved by 1.9%.
Wholesale stocks make up about a quarter of all inventories, while about one-third of inventories are held at the factory level. Retail inventories make up the rest.
--Written by Sung Moss in New York