Merchant wholesalers posted a 1.6% decrease in inventories in March, while sales slumped 2.4% in the month, according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department.

Inventories of merchant wholesalers slid to $411.7 billion following a revised 1.7% decrease to $418.5 billion in February, originally reported as a 1.5% decrease to $419.9 billion.

Meanwhile, sales of merchant wholesalers fell to $310.9 billion following February’s revised 0.2% increase to $318.5 billion, originally reported as a 0.6% rise to $319.7 billion.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters predicted a 1.0% decrease in wholesale inventories.

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