Wholesale Inventories, Sales Rise In Jan.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses at the wholesale level added to their stockpiles in January and their sales jumped by the largest amount in 14 months.

The Commerce Department says wholesale inventories rose 1.1 percent in January. Sales at the wholesale level increased 3.4 percent, the largest gain since November 2009. The big sales gain should encourage businesses to keep restocking their shelves. That would drive factory production in the months ahead.

The rise in inventories in January left stockpiles at $436.9 billion. That's 13.1 percent higher than the low reached in September 2009 when companies were slashing their stockpiles to keep costs under control during the recession.