Merchant wholesalers posted a 1.1% increase in inventories in December, while sales fell 0.7% in the month, according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department.


Inventories of merchant wholesalers rose to $411.6 billion following an upwardly revised 0.8% increase in November, originally reported as a 0.6% gain.


Meanwhile, sales of merchant wholesalers fell to about $376.6 billion following November’s revised 1.9% increase to $379.3 billion, originally reported as a 2.2% gain.


Economists polled by IFR Markets predicted a 0.3% increase in wholesale inventories, and 0.5% growth in wholesale sales.


Inventories were up 6.1% from December 2006, when they were at $387.9 billion, while year-over-year sales posted a 10.6% jump from $340.6 billion.


The inventories to sales ratio was 1.09, up from 1.07 last month and down from 1.14 a year ago.

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